Dr Kevin Hill issues a prescription for good health in our weekly column, DOCTOR CALLING
Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as lipid and is vital for the normal functioning body.
Having an excessively high level of lipids in your body can have an effect on your health.
High cholesterol doesn’t usually cause any symptoms but it increases the risk of:
• narrowing the arteries;
• heart attack;
• transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – often known as a mini stroke; and
• peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall restricting the blood flow to the heart and the rest of the body.
It can also increase the risk of a blood clot developing.
Many factors can increase the chance of having a heart problem or stroke if you have high cholesterol:
• an unhealthy diet
• diabetes or high blood pressure; or
• a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Your GP may recommend you have your cholesterol tested if you have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, TIA or PAD, have a family history of cardio vascular disease, have a family member who has a cholesterol related condition, are overweight or have high blood pressure or diabetes.
High cholesterol increases the risk of things like strokes and heart attacks and risks of vascular disease can be reduced by simple lifestyle changes like eating a healthy balanced diet, taking regular exercise and giving up smoking.
If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol level, it might be that your GP will prescribe medication to help reduce it.
If you have any concerns about your cholesterol level please ask at your surgery.