Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

In the United States, about 2/5 of adults have high cholesterol. This puts them at risk of heart disease and stroke. It is not possible to detect the condition without a blood test, called a cholesterol level or a lipid test. You can increase your cholesterol by a variety of factors, such as unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, and some medications.
In your blood, cholesterol is a waxy substance that helps to build healthy cells. It also produces certain hormones. When levels of cholesterol are high, they can lead to fatty deposits forming in blood vessels. This can reduce the blood flow to your heart or other organs. This can cause a stroke or heart attack.

High cholesterol is mainly caused by a poor diet and obesity. As you age, it becomes more common. Heredity, or the presence of someone in your family with high cholesterol, can also increase your risk. Smoking, diabetes or high cholesterol in the family and certain chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetics and kidney disease are also risk factors.

Type 2 diabetics are more likely than others to have high levels of cholesterol. This is because diabetes can increase “bad” triglycerides, and lower “good cholesterol”. Some medical conditions, such as thyroid disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome, can cause high cholesterol.
Some medications, like steroids and anti-rejection drugs after organ transplants, can cause your cholesterol levels to increase. You can prevent high cholesterol with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Instead of high-fat dairy and fried food, choose whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and unsalted nuts or seeds. Choose fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines instead of processed meats. Instead of saturated fats and trans fats, choose fats from plants like olive oil or canola and avocados.

It is important to discuss with your doctor how to lower high cholesterol. Some lifestyle changes may be recommended, including losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising at least 30 minutes per day. Statins are one type of medication that can help reduce cholesterol. You may also be advised to avoid certain foods such as those containing trans or saturated fats as well as alcohol. It is especially important that you follow the advice of your doctor if there’s a history of diabetes or heart disease in your family. You are more likely to live longer if you treat your cholesterol earlier. Visit our High Cholesterol Page for more information about how to control your cholesterol.

If you would like to speak with a Doctor who is an expert in the field or has Australian training, please contact us. Book an online Telehealth consultation. We are always here for you, 24/7. Contact info@clinicall.com.au.