Many of us have worried about our cholesterol levels at one time or another, but do you know what a healthy level is and what can affect it?
October is National Cholesterol Month, the perfect time to learn more about what a normal cholesterol level is and how to promote a healthy cholesterol level
While there are standard guides for healthy cholesterol levels, what’s right for you might look slightly different depending on your circumstances, and this will always be advised by your doctor or nurse.
Total cholesterol should be 5 or below to constitute a healthy level. This is the main figure when it comes to checking cholesterol and includes the overall amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Cholesterol is a natural part of our bodies, and we need it in our bloodstream to stay healthy, helping us to digest food, keep bones healthy, and make hormones. It’s when the levels get too high that it can start to work against us and cause issues.
Your total cholesterol level result tells you about the overall level of cholesterol in your blood. This includes the good cholesterol, or HDL, which actually decreases the risk of heart disease and other vascular problems.
The bad cholesterol levels, or LDL and Non-HDL, is what can increase your risk of heart disease. There are also triglycerides, another form of fatty substance that can increase the risk of vascular disease.
If you’re diagnosed with high cholesterol, it means you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream. This can be caused in a number of ways, from eating too much to not getting enough exercise, to risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, and a family history of high cholesterol.
You can only find out if you have high cholesterol by taking a blood test, as there aren’t any detectable symptoms.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor will likely give you a level to aim for through lifestyle changes such as improving your diet or doing more exercise.
You should try to eat unsaturated fats over saturated fats, swapping out foods such as fatty meats, butter, and lard, for oily fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. You should also eat more fruit and vegetables, brown rice, bread, and pasta. Doing more exercise can also help, as well as cutting down on alcohol and giving up smoking.
If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels and want to talk to a medical professional, you can get in touch with us to make an appointment, or find out more about our cardiology services at your nearest Ramsay hospital.