Six in 10 adults in the UK have raised cholesterol – could one of them be you?
Cholesterol is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Notoriously known as one of UK’s silent killers, high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily present any symptoms and so the only way to be sure of your risk is to get checked.
Each week, Life Line Screening performs around 1,300 health screenings across the UK and Ireland. Last year alone, they identified over 5,000 people with high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol checks are available at Life Line Screening as a simple finger-stick screening. To learn more about your health and for more information about the full range of health screening services provided by Life Line Screening visit www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.
There are two main types of cholesterol found in our bloodstream, LDL-cholesterol, known as ‘bad cholesterol’ and HDL-cholesterol known as ‘good cholesterol’? Life Line Screening and HEART UK anticipate finding people with unhealthy patterns of blood fats such as raised total cholesterol (an indicator that LDL cholesterol levels are raised) or low levels of the protective HDL-cholesterol (below 1mmol/L). While many people in the UK have been diagnosed with unhealthy levels of cholesterol, thousands more are completely unaware of their levels, and potentially at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Over 120,000 people in Britain also have a form of inherited high cholesterol called Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) which can cause premature death in those as young as 30 – and only 15% of those with the condition are known.
“It’s really important for anyone over 40 or anyone with raised cholesterol or early heart disease in the family to know their cholesterol levels, understand their personal level of risk and to take any relevant action and HEART UK are here to help,” says Jules Payne, Chief Executive of HEART UK. “Cholesterol testing events like this one, supported by Life Line Screening, help us prevent early deaths caused by high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.”
“That is why we are launching the Great Cholesterol Challenge to encourage people to adopt a new healthy habit throughout October and beyond and improve their heart health. We are encouraging people to get sponsored for the challenges they set themselves and donate any raised funds to HEART UK. There will also be an opportunity to make a donation to HEART UK at the event to support our vital work”
Simple lifestyle changes
Wellness Coach and Registered Dietitian, Andrew Wilson, a Nutrition Consultant to Life Line Screening is on-hand with expert advice, “Understanding your cholesterol levels, taking regular exercise, giving up smoking and reducing saturated fats in your diet are essential if you have high cholesterol. Try keeping your weight and waist circumference within the healthy range to help keep you and your cholesterol levels healthy”.
3 diet steps to help keep your cholesterol levels healthy naturally
- Replace foods high in saturated fats with foods that are heart healthy such as nuts, seeds, avocados, lean meat, poultry, soya foods, oily fish and replace butter and lard with vegetables oils and spreads. Reducing the amount of saturated fat can lower levels of LDL cholesterol and improve the levels of the good cholesterol HDL.
- Eat a rainbow: Replace unhealthy snacks with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to help improve cholesterol levels and promote better heart health – the more variety and colour the better.
- Fill up on fibre! Soluble fibre (especially from oats and barley which contain the fibre beta-glucan), have been shown to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Add flavour to your porridge by adding a handful of blueberries and cinnamon! Beans, chick peas and lentils are also a really great source of soluble fibre.