Six in ten adults have high cholesterol. Isn't that shocking? It's probably time you had yours tested. Before you go, read this to get an idea of what you might be up against.
It's a waxy substance made by the liver, but it's also found in some foods. It's needed to produce properly functioning cells, hormones, bile and vitamin D. Without cholesterol you would simply die. The problem is when we ingest too much and it gets stuck in our arteries causing heart disease.
You may have heard of good and bad cholesterol? There are two forms of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol around the body. LDL 'low density lipoprotein' is the Darth Vader bad cholesterol. HDL 'high density lipoproteins' is Luke Skywalker - they are the good guys. Hans Solo is in the sexual desire hormone section if you're looking for him.
There are few symptoms that directly point to high cholesterol. It requires solid doctor detective skills. One give-away are tiny lumps under the eyes which are small lumps of fat. If you have these, you ought to have your cholesterol levels checked soon and take a good look at your health as well.
When cholesterol and fat block your arteries you may suffer a heart attack or a stroke, both of which can kill or seriously disable you. You may suffer angina or pain when walking beforehand too.
There are a couple of tests you doctor might perform. A blood sample that is sent off for tests and/or a finger prick test. It's all very simple.
Improve your diet and start exercising. You may also be prescribed statins to help lower the cholesterol. Statins are excellent but you also need to cut out processed foods and fat. Eat whole foods - those that have not been tampered with such as fruit and vegetables, low fat meats and fish, plus some dairy. A balanced diet is what you are aiming for. Women should aim for no more than 20mgs of fat a day (4 teaspoons of butter is 10gms) Exercise will help reduce the levels of fat in your blood and strengthen your overworked arteries. If you smoke, quitting is a sure-fire route to reducing cholesterol and a whole host of other risks besides.
High cholesterol is known as the silent killer. I don't want to scare you, but if you are eating badly, being lazy or smoking - don't you think it's likely you are one of the 6 in 10 that have high cholesterol levels?