High cholesterol, whereby you have too much cholesterol in your blood, is rife in the UK, but the exact percentage of Brits living with it is unknown because the condition does not usually present symptoms. However, as cholesterol accumulates in the arteries, it can cause grave complications which do present symptoms. One of the most acute examples of this is peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the NHS.
“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”
According to the health body, you should ask your GP surgery for a cholesterol test if you have not had a test before and you’re over 40, overweight, or high cholesterol or heart problems run in your family.
If you meet the above criteria, you’re more likely to have high cholesterol, it warns.
How to lower high cholesterol
Improving your diet is key to lowering high cholesterol levels and certain foods should be avoided where possible.
According to cholesterol charity Heart UK, it’s much more important to cut down on foods which contain saturated fats.
“That’s because saturated fats affect how the liver handles cholesterol,” warns Heart UK.
Saturated fats are usually hard at room temperature, such as butter, the fat in meat, and coconut oil.
But just replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates, like sugary foods and drinks, won’t improve your health.
“Replacing it with unsaturated fats such as oily fish, nuts, or vegetable oils like rapeseed or sunflower oil, does seem to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke,” notes the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
“Remember, though, all types of fat are high in calories, so eating too much can lead to weight gain.”