56% of the population of England have elevated cholesterol levels according to Heart UK**. That’s a big worry because having too much bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood is a major risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease. The only way to know if you are at risk is to take a cholesterol test, and it’s something you should be considering if you are over 40.
You should have your cholesterol checked at these intervals if you fall into any of these groups:
- Every 5 years if you are between the ages of 40 and 75
- Every 12 months if you are on cholesterol lowering medication
- Any child of a parent with inherited high cholesterol (FH) – by the age of 10
- First degree relatives of a person with FH – on being told of the risk
The NHS will provide you with a free test if you fall into any of the above groups, speak to your Doctor or Practice Nurse about arranging a test.
Not sure what all the fuss is about? Heart UK and Flora Proactiv sent a load of men in big yellow inflatable suits down into the London Underground to illustrate what cholesterol does to your bloodstream.
OK, so the men in yellow are a bit creepy to be honest, but they make a very important point. Imagine the London Underground as the arteries of the city, and all the commuters as the blood flowing through the arteries. Those men in yellow suits blocking up the escalators aren’t going to help that journey, are they? Now think of what cholesterol is doing to the flow of blood in your own arteries. Scary, right?
If you’re worried about your own cholesterol level, or just find yourself in one of the groups listed above, then get in touch with your GP to arrange a blood test. You can get more information about this on the Heart UK website. It’s really simple – I’ve had a couple of tests done before and once you know your cholesterol level, you can work with it to improve your health.
The good news is that there are lots of simple steps you can take to improve your cholesterol and boost your heart health. Simple diet and lifestyle changes can help to maintain a healthier level, and help take care of your heart. More info on this can be found on the Flora Proactiv website and I’ll be covering the subject in more detail in a future Fitness Friday post.
I was not compensated in any way for this post.
** this figure is based on Health Survey for England 2011