How to reduce your high cholesterol

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If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, your GP or specialist will want to reduce your cholesterol level and this can be done using medication. You also have the ability to assist in lowering your high cholesterol levels yourself by:

Changing your diet

Choosing foods that are high in soluble fibre can help to lower cholesterol levels. Consuming foods such as oats, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables are all a better option than eating foods that are high in saturated or trans fats.

Regular Exercise

It is known that regular physical activity can increase your HDL cholesterol which is the good type of cholesterol and staying active is a good way to keep your heart healthy.

Quitting smoking

Giving up smoking can help you to lower your cholesterol and improve the health of your heart.

What actually is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is moves around the body by proteins and when the cholesterol and proteins are combined they are called lipoproteins and come in two main types:

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is known as the bad type of cholesterol. LDL carry cholesterol from your liver to the cells that need it.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the good type of cholesterol. HDL carry cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver to be broken down.

If you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood it can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of bad cholesterol and a low level of good cholesterol.

The cause of cholesterol

Although there is no one single reason for people having high cholesterol there are different factors that can contribute which include:

  • A diet that is high in saturated fat
  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • High alcohol intake
  • Kidney or liver disease

There is also an inherited condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) which can also cause exceptionally high cholesterol even if you have a healthy lifestyle.

The above information has been sourced from where you can also find a wealth of further information from the British Heart Foundation.

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