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What Level Is High Cholesterol Uk

What Do Your Cholesterol Results Mean

Understanding Cholesterol

When you have a cholesterol test, it is really important that your healthcare professional explains the results to you to prevent unnecessary worry and confusion.

Its not just your total cholesterol thats important and your results will include different types of cholesterol. If you are only given your total cholesterol, ask for a break-down of the other numbers. Its possible to have a healthy total cholesterol number but an unhealthy balance of the different types of cholesterol.

As a minimum, you should be given your total cholesterol and HDL numbers, then you can work out your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol .

You might also have your triglycerides tested, these are another type of blood fat which are linked to heart disease.

Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.

Your results should include:

  • Total cholesterol

This is sometimes written as ‘serum cholesterol’ or ‘TC’ and refers to your overall level of cholesterol.

  • Non-HDL cholesterol

Your non-HDL cholesterol is your total cholesterol minus your HDL cholesterol. Its all the ‘bad’ cholesterol added together, including your LDL cholesterol. Ideally it should be as low as possible.

  • HDL cholesterol
  • TC:HDL ratio

You might be given a TC:HDL ratio, which is the ratio of HDL compared to the total cholesterol. If not, you can work it out from your HDL and total cholesterol numbers. This should be as low as possible. Above 6 is considered high.

How To Lower Cholesterol: Low

Low-carbohydrate diets may help improve HDL cholesterol levels. The National Institutes of Health conducted a study that found while both low-fat and low-carb dieters lost weight over the two-year study period, low-carb dieters also improved their HDL cholesterol levels. The problem with low-carb diets is that they may be difficult to adhere to. Consult your doctor about the best healthy eating plan to manage your cholesterol.

How Is Cholesterol Tested

Blood cholesterol levels are easily checked with a finger prick test or by taking a sample of blood from your arm. The easiest way to arrange this is through your doctors surgery or health centre. If a sample of blood is taken, it will be sent to a lab and you should get the results within a few days. You may be asked not to eat anything for up to 12 hours beforehand although this isnt usually necessary. A finger prick test is done by pricking your finger and putting a drop of blood onto a strip of paper, which then goes into a machine and checks your cholesterol within a few minutes.

Many pharmacies offer cholesterol tests, although you might have to pay for them. You can also buy home-testing cholesterol kits from shops or online but these may not be as reliable as a cholesterol test carried out by a health professional. Its always better to contact your surgery or health centre and arrange a cholesterol test through them.

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Make Changes In The Kitchen

Use your diet to help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol.

For the biggest impact, choose foods that are low in saturated fats and trans fats, and high in fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Whole grains, beans, apples, pears, oatmeal, salmon, walnuts, and olive oil are excellent heart-healthy choices.

Here are some more diet tips to help you lower your cholesterol:

Make meat lean. Cut back on red meats that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and choose only lean meats with very little visible fat. Examples of lean beef include London broil, eye of round, and filet mignon. Avoid processed meats like bacon and sausage, which are linked to higher odds of heart disease and diabetes.

Remove skin from poultry. That’s where much of the fat is.

Eat more seafood. It usually has less fat than other meat. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish each week for heart health. Those fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you.

Limit saturated fat. These are found in whole-fat dairy products, mayonnaise, and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils or fats . These products may also contain trans fats, which can raise your cholesterol level.

Add fiber with plant foods. Good sources include grapefruits, apples, beans and other legumes, barley, carrots, cabbage, and oatmeal.

Testing Your Blood Cholesterol

Hdlcholesterollevels Will Pearl Millet Is Good To Reduce ...

Your serum cholesterol is measured with a simple blood test. A doctor draws blood from your arm enough to fill one or more little vials. The blood samples are sent to a lab for analysis. Before your blood draw youll need to fast for at least eight hours.

A healthy adult should have a blood test that includes a serum cholesterol check every four to six years. As you get older, your doctor may advise you to have your cholesterol, and other markers of health like your blood pressure, checked every year. This is especially true if you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These factors include:

  • obesity
  • smoking
  • family history of heart disease

If you start a new medication or change medications meant to manage your cholesterol, youll probably have more frequent cholesterol checks. Serum cholesterol tests can show whether the medication is working.

It usually takes several days or even a few weeks to get your blood test results back. Your lab report will show your serum cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter . Your serum cholesterol includes:

  • LDL level
  • HDL level
  • 20 percent of your triglyceride level

The lower the LDL level and the higher the HDL level, the better. LDL is the type of cholesterol that forms waxy plaque on the inside wall of an artery. Too much plaque can limit blood flow through that artery.

Learn more: Is it a stroke or a heart attack? »

Heres what you should look for in your results:

healthy serum cholesterol

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Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol

Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher the HDL, the better. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a high risk-factor for developing heart disease.

How To Lower Cholesterol

While FH can not be cured, treatment can be effective at helping to bring down cholesterol levels.

People diagnosed with FH are likely to be prescribed statins to regulate levels of low-density lipoprotein.

Other medications, such as ezetimibe, might be prescribed in addition to statins.

Furthermore, it is imperative to eat a healthy balanced diet in order to not aggravate the condition.

Moreover, it is imperative to maintain a healthy weight and to do plenty of exercise.

The BHF offers a Genetic Information Service on 0300 456 8383 from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

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How Can Fat Affect Your Health

You need some fat in your diet for your body to work properly and to absorb other nutrients from the food you eat.

Fats are very high in energy and any fats your body doesnt use is stored as body fat. Its important not to eat too much fat because being overweight will raise your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Eating too much fat, especially saturated fats, also raises the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the liver from the fat we eat. Your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol, but if there is too much it can , making them narrower so less blood can flow through them.

This process is called atherosclerosis, and it raises your risk of and .

If you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol together, this speeds up the process of atherosclerosis, raising the risks further, especially if you or have . Keeping an eye on your fat intake will help to lower your cholesterol levels and your risk of serious illness.

How Is High Cholesterol Treated

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There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.

Lifestyle modifications

Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:

  • Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
  • Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
  • Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
  • Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
  • Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.


  • Atorvastatin .
  • Simvastatin .
  • Pitavastatin .

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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol

Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:

  • Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
  • Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
  • Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
  • Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
  • Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.

How Many People Have High Cholesterol

The number of people with raised total cholesterol has declined over the past two decades. According to the Health Survey for England a large ongoing study that looks at the health of people in England in 1998, around two thirds of all adults had high cholesterol. Fast forward 20 years and the latest findings reveal that now, just under half of all adults 47% have high cholesterol . Its a move in the right direction. But there are still a huge number of people with cholesterol levels that are too high, putting them at risk of conditions such coronary heart disease. Meanwhile, anyone can be a victim of high cholesterol!

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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.

Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Inactivity.

Why Do We Need Cholesterol

Go 11: Adventures in cholesterol

Although weve grown up to fear cholesterol, we do actually need it for our bodies to function properly in fact its fundamental to life. Thats because cholesterol is crucial for forming cell walls, producing hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, helping repair nerves, producing bile so we can digest and absorb the fats in our diet and to make the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D. Whats more, cholesterol improves our memory and helps us feel good because it makes the mood-boosting hormone, serotonin.

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Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Cholesterol

  • Increase your activity levels…
  • Try using the stairs instead of lifts or escalators
  • Park away from the shops or your worklplace and walk the rest of the way
  • Go for a walk during your lunch break
  • Team up with a friend and get an allotment
  • Get more active as a family – try cycling, swimming, park rambles or taking the dog for a walk.
  • Stop smoking. Enquire at your local GP surgery about any stop smoking support groups or NHS supported programmes.
  • Reduce alcohol intake. Drink no more than 14 units per week. Ensure you spread your units over the course of a week and do not save them up and drink them all on one day/evening.
  • Lose weight – particularly if your carry weight around your waist. In European people, a waist line of 80cm carries an increased risk and 88cm carries a high risk of increased cholesterol and heart disease.
  • Take a look at our wellbeing hub for inspiration, motivation and expert tips to help you eat, move and live your way to better health.

    Or visit our heart centre for more information about heart related conditions and simple steps you can take to stay heart healthy.

    Answered by the Health at Hand team.

    How Much Benefit Do I Get If My Cholesterol Level Is Reduced

    If you have a high risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, or you already have a cardiovascular disease, lowering your LDL cholesterol level reduces your risk of developing future cardiovascular problems.

    For details on exactly how much risk is reduced by lowering and treating risk factors, find out more about the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Clinical Knowledge Summary , ‘Cardiovascular risk assessment and management’ .

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    Why High Cholesterol Matters

    High cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S. High levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, narrowing the arteries and restricting blood flow. If some of this plaque breaks off and gets stuck in a narrowed artery, it can block the artery and cut off blood supply to the heart or brain, resulting in heart attack or stroke.

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    We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

    Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that is found in the blood. Cholesterol is bad in itself – it helps our cells to function properly and allows our body to produce essential vitamins and hormones, including bile. However, high levels of low-density lipoprotein , also known as “bad” cholesterol, can clog up your arteries, thereby raising your risk of heart disease.

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    Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women

    HDL levels differ for men and women

    Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.

    Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy

    During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We don’t recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results won’t be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you don’t need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.

    Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause

    Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.

    Dr Chris Reveals How Eyes Can Indicate High Cholesterol Levels

    We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

    Described as “cosmetically disfiguring” by medical experts at Winchester Hospital, fatty lumps as large as three inches could form anywhere on the body, which is indicative of high cholesterol. Whether the fatty lumps protrude on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks, they might be tender, itchy and painful. The skin bumps may be different shapes, with well-defined borders that may appear yellow to orange in colouring.

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    Things To Help Lower Cholesterol Level

    The first step in reducing your cholesterol is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. It’s important to keep your diet low in fatty food.

    You can swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals.

    Other lifestyle changes, such as taking regular exercise and giving up smoking , can also make a big difference in helping to lower your cholesterol.

    If these measures don’t reduce your cholesterol and you continue to have a high risk of developing heart disease, your GP may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication

    Your GP will discuss treatment options with you.

    When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels

    Proper Cholesterol Levels

    In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.

    Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.


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