National Heart Month – Cholesterol

 In Pharmacy Information, Simplifying Product Supply

As the month of February draws to a close, so does National Heart Month and in the final week, we’ll be looking at cholesterol, which is one of the major causes of heart disease.

What is Cholesterol?

The British Heart Foundation describes cholesterol as being “a fatty substance carried around the body by proteins. When cholesterol and proteins are combined, they are called lipoproteins and there are two kinds:

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are known as the bad type of cholesterol. LDL carry cholesterol from your liver to the cells that need it.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known as the good type of cholesterol. HDL carry cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver to be broken down.”

Having too much bad cholesterol (LDL) and too little good Cholesterol (HDL) will lead to fatty deposits building up on the artery walls and will slowly make it harder for blood to be pumped around the body, causing stress on the circulatory system and ultimately, the heart.

What causes high Cholesterol?

Having high amounts of LDL in your body is not good for your health as it can narrow your arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes. Knowing what can cause your cholesterol levels to increase is important as it is the first step to trying to combat it.

The NHS suggest the factors that can increase your risk of having high levels of cholesterol include:

  • A poor diet with a lot of saturated fat
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes or high blood pressure
  • A family history of heart disease or strokes

How to improve your Cholesterol levels?

You should aim to have a total cholesterol level of under 4mmol/l, especially if you’re in a high-risk category for heart disease. Your LDL levels should be below 2mmol/l and your HDL levels should be above 1mmol/l.

There’s not just one cause of having high LDL levels, but the good news is that there are various ways you can lower your LDL levels and increase your HDL levels, including:

  • Eating a healthier balanced diet with less saturated fats, and more mono/polyunsaturated fats.
  • Giving up smoking, if you’re a smoker.
  • Trying to do more exercise (the British Heart Foundation suggests 150 minutes of exercise per week).
  • Making sure you’re not drinking over the recommended daily allowance of alcohol.
  • Taking medication (but only if recommended by a doctor).

Further information

For more information on heart health and how you can help to stay healthy, please visit the British Heart Foundation’s website.

Ashtons provides a range of cholesterol-related products which consist mostly of medication to help fight high levels of bad cholesterol and can be ordered from here.

You can order these products by visiting our online ordering website, emailing us at info@ahps.co.uk or calling us on 0345 222 3550.


 

References

  1. https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cholesterol/Pages/Introduction.aspx
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