Are you at risk of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol can lead to life-changing health problems. But these can be avoided if you get tested, as Senior Cardiac Nurse Philippa Hobson explains.
High cholesterol symptoms
Most people with high cholesterol don’t have any symptoms. You can’t feel your cholesterol level increasing, so you might not realize there is a problem until you have a heart attack or stroke.
Having high cholesterol can lead to fatty substances sticking to your artery walls, reducing blood flow. This can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
You can’t feel your cholesterol level increasing, so you might not realize there is a problem until you have a heart attack or stroke. The only way to find out if your cholesterol is high is by having a blood test called a lipid profile.
You can get this done at your GP practice or your local hospital.
It can be as simple as a finger prick test, or you might need a small blood sample to be taken through a needle. The test gives a breakdown of the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (known as high-density lipids or HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (low-density lipids or LDL) in the blood.
Knowing your numbers is a vital part of reducing your risk of heart and circulatory diseases.
If your ‘bad’ cholesterol is found to be high, you can be prescribed statins. They reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol, as well as protecting the inside of the artery walls. There is strong evidence that, if you are found to have high cholesterol, taking statins significantly reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.