HIGH cholesterol puts people at risk of developing heart disease – increasing risk of heart attack. The condition can also increase the likelihood of diabetes – but what causes it?
High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase the risk not only of heart disease but heart attack, stroke, stroke, TIAs or ‘mini strokes’ and peripheral arterial disease.
Both the brain and heart require cholesterol to function normally.
The condition can be treated with statins – drugs which lower cholesterol and are prescribed to millions of patients in the UK.
Lifestyle can increase your risk of developing high blood cholesterol.
There are five main factors which put people at risk of developing the condition.
Walnuts and oatmeal have been hailed as just two of the foods which can help reduce high levels of cholesterol.
Experts also advice cooking food from scratch to reduce the number of additives in food.
Lack of exercise
Lack of exercise can increase levels of bad cholesterol – LDL cholesterol.
Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risk of high cholesterol. It can also cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to your heart muscle and other diseases such as stroke, liver problems and even cancer, argues the British Heart Foundation.
Dr Sarah Brewer, author of Cut Your Cholesterol: A Three Month Programme To Reducing Cholesterol said: “Aim to limit alcohol intake to, at most, 21 units spread over a week for men and 14 units spread over a week for women.”
People who are overweight are more likely to have high levels of LDL and triglycerides, and a lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). People who have a BMI of around 30 are classed as obese.
NHS Choices said a chemical in cigarettes called acrolein stops good cholesterol – HDL – transporting cholesterol from fatty deposits to the liver.
The can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis, which is a narrowing of the arteries.
A treatment, called Alirocumab – produced by company Sanofi – is approved in the UK for use in patients who are unable to reach their ‘bad’ cholesterol treatment goals, despite modifying their diet and taking a maximum tolerated dose of a statin and other lipid-lowering therapies.
The guidance has been hailed as a ‘major step forward’ for the thousands of people in the UK who are sill unable to control their cholesterol levels, despite taking the maximum tolerated dose of statins.