What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood and elsewhere in the human body. The body makes its own cholesterol but we also get cholesterol from some of the foods we eat. Cholesterol is used in the body in the walls of cells, in making certain hormones, and to make bile which helps digest fat from the food we eat.
The two types of cholesterol are HDL-cholesterol (good) and LDL-cholesterol (bad). Bad cholesterol can block arteries and lead to heart disease. Good cholesterol helps removes bad cholesterol from the blood and lowers the risk of heart disease. It is recommended to keep the level of LDL-cholesterol below 2.0mmol/L and keep the level of HDL-cholesterol above 1.0mmol/L. Your doctor can check your cholesterol for you and tell you what your levels are.
Risk factors for high cholesterol
A person is at risk of developing high cholesterol if they have any of the following risk factors:
- Family history of high cholesterol
- Certain medications
- Being less physically active
- Higher intake of the less heart-healthy fats
- Lower intake of the more heart-healthy fats
Symptoms of high cholesterol
Usually people with high cholesterol do not experience any symptoms, which is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
How do I manage my high cholesterol?
Depending on how high your cholesterol is, and if you have any other medical conditions, your doctor may either suggest simply making lifestyle changes or may prescribe you medication to help lower your cholesterol.
There isn’t a diet for high cholesterol, but your dietitian can show you how to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle to help lower your cholesterol. Making changes to your diet for high cholesterol can help to lower your cholesterol even if you are also taking medication.
- Reduce the amount of the less heart-healthy fats in your diet
- Increase the amount of fibre in your diet
- Include moderate amounts of mono and polyunsaturated (healthy) fats in your diet
- Incorporate plant sterols into your diet
Accredited Practising Dietitians are qualified to assist people in managing medically-diagnosed nutrition conditions. For information about booking a nutrition consultation with an Allied Nutrition dietitian, please click HERE or phone us to discuss your requirements.