Cholesterol

What is cholesterol? (click to close)

Cholesterol is a fat found in your body. You need a certain amount of cholesterol in order to produce hormones however too much can stick to your artery walls forming a plaque. This plaque builds up and blocks arteries in your body.

If an artery to the heart becomes completely blocked the heart muscle becomes damaged and this is known as a heart attack. If the artery to the brain is completely blocked it damages the brain and this is known as a stroke.

What can I do to reduce my cholesterol? (click to close)

  • Cut right down on saturated fats by choosing lean meat and low fat dairy products.
  • Get to a healthy weight
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day—for example a brisk walk.
  • Eat oily fish twice a week.
  • Change cooking methods to grilling or oven baking rather than frying.
  • Stop smoking

Speak with you Haven pharmacist for advice on how to help keep your cholesterol levels under control

What’s the difference between good and bad cholesterol? (click to close)

Good cholesterol

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol returns the extra cholesterol, that isn’t needed, from the bloodstream to the liver.
  • HDL is a good type of cholesterol because it removes bad cholesterol from the bloodstream.

Bad cholesterol

  • LDL(low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol carries cholesterol from the liver, through the bloodstream, to the cells. LDL is bad cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides are another type of ‘bad cholesterol’ in the blood. They are found in some foods and can also be produced in the body.

Why is high cholesterol bad? (click to close)

Your total cholesterol level is the total of the LDL, HDL and other fats in your blood.

People who have a high total cholesterol level have a higher risk of coronary heart disease than those with lower levels. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol (the ‘good’ cholesterol).

People with a high triglyceride level have a greater risk of coronary heart disease and stroke than people with lower levels.

How is cholesterol measured? (click to close)

A total cholesterol of over 5 mmol/litre (measurement used for cholesterol levels) is deemed to be high. This result or higher requires a blood test to establish HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels

Cholesterol,Healthy level mmol/l
Total Cholesterol, Less than 5
LDL Cholesterol,Less than 3
Triglycerides,Less than 2

People with established heart disease or diabetes should aim for lower levels

Cholesterol,Healthy level mmol/l
Total Cholesterol, Less than 4.5
LDL Cholesterol,Less than 1.8

Our Haven Pharmacists are trained to quickly and painlessly measure your blood cholesterol, and provide you with on the spot and accurate results.

Having a knowledge of your cholesterol levels can lead to better health control and help you prevent health problems before they develop.

Find out more about cholesterol from your local Haven Pharmacist.