Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for many of the metabolic processes in our body. It’s function is vital in aiding the production of hormones, bile production in the liver and tissue development.
There are two types of cholesterol; HDL ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Eating foods rich in saturated fats will increase the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, which is a risk factor in coronary heart disease. Raised cholesterol levels can cause cholesterol to be deposited within the walls of arteries, making it difficult for blood to flow through. This build-up in the walls of the arteries puts a person at significant risk of heart disease and stroke.
Abnormally high cholesterol levels may not give you any symptoms, so a blood test is the best way to check how much cholesterol and other lipids your blood contains. This test is a ‘total cholesterol test’, to provide an indication of ‘total cholesterol’. To gain a full breakdown of your HDL, LDL and Triglycerides levels, it’s advisable to visit your GP.
TIPS & ADVICE
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on most days of the week. If your day-to-day work involves sitting down for prolonged periods of time, then make sure you break up your sitting time.
Eat Well: Eat foods high in fibre and avoid adding salt to foods as too much salt can increase your blood pressure. Eat a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats, oily fish, fruit, nuts, seeds and
legumes. Replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats to keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
Quit smoking: Smoking causes narrowing and clogging of the arteries which reduces blood supply and the amount of oxygen available throughout the body. Smoking also increases the likelihood of your blood clotting which can lead to a heart attack and stroke.
Look after your mental health: Emotional stress, anxiety and depression can increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Manage stress by meditating, building a strong support network, and visiting a mental health provider, if necessary.
Take your medicines as prescribed: It is important to continue to take your medicines as prescribed and have regular check-ups with your doctor.
Health Check Procedure
Usually performed as a fasting test, a small amount of blood will be taken from your fingertip.
Applying gentle pressure afterward should reduce bleeding or bruising, though this can be a common after-effect. The test should take about 3 minutes.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011/12. This test measures your total cholesterol levels. For a breakdown of your HDL, LDL and triglycerides levels, we recommend visiting your GP.