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How to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 23 Aug 2023

How to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level


Cholesterol is essential for helping your body function normally, but too much cholesterol in your body can increase your risk of heart disease. We explore what you need to do to keep your blood cholesterol at a healthy level.

Why is cholesterol important?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like susbtance that is essential to make hormones, Vitamin D and is also used to help you digest your food1.

Your body also uses cholesterol to build cells and help your metabolism work effectively.

Cholesterol is transported around your body through the blood in two ways1:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol as high levels of this type of cholesterol can lead to blockages in your arteries

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol as it removes excess cholesterol out of your cells

The lower your LDL cholesterol and the higher your HDL cholesterol is, the better chance you have of preventing heart disease as well as other chronic conditions2.

What's a safe level of cholesterol?

As high cholesterol doesn’t have any obvious symptoms, it’s important to understand what a safe level of cholesterol is.

Your Pharmacist or doctor can run a cholesterol screening to help you understand what levels are right for you based on your family history, diet, age and more. This is usually done through a blood test3.

The Cholesterol Screening service at Blooms The Chemist focuses on your total cholesterol levels in your blood.

What causes high cholesterol?

There’s no single cause of high cholesterol. Risk factors for developing high cholesterol include1:

  • Your age, as an Australian Bureau of Statistics report found that people with high cholesterol doubled from age 45 - 643

  • Whether you smoke

  • The amount of physical activity you do

  • Whether you are overweight or obese

  • Your family history

  • Whether your diet is unhealthy or high in saturated fats

How to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level

There are many ways you can keep your cholesterol at a healthy level, some include4:

  • Following a healthy diet by increasing the amount and variety of fresh fruit and vegetables you’re eating and using herbs and spices to flavour your meals instead of salt

  • Minimising your intake of food with high saturated fats, which includes most takeaway foods, cakes, biscuits and pastries

  • Reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day or stop drinking completely

  • Stop smoking, as it increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells

  • Exercise regularly as it increases HDL (good) cholesterol levels while reducing your LDL cholesterol levels

Maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol in your body requires lifestyle changes, healthy eating and exercising1.

You can work closely with your doctor to manage your weight, including slowly changing your eating habits and becoming more active, which can help you maintain a healthy weight.

However, knowing your total cholesterol levels is a good place to start maintaining a healthy level of cholesterol.

Visit your your local Blooms The Chemist for a Cholesterol Screening, and our friendly Pharmacists are happy to help you understand your total cholesterol levels today.

References

1Heart Foundation, Blood Cholesterol, accessed 21 August 2023

2Harvard School of Public Health, Cholesterol, accessed 21 August 2023

3Australian Bureau of Statistics, High cholesterol for 2017-18 financial year, accessed 23 August 2023

4Better Health Victoria, Cholesterol, accessed 21 August 2023