Managing high cholesterol, FH and the risks of heart disease


There are many causes of high cholesterol, including eating a diet containing too much saturated fat, stress, smoking and inherited genetic conditions such as familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH for short). Whatever the cause, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional such as your doctor or local Alphega Pharmacist for advice and guidance on how to manage and reduce high cholesterol in the blood.

Treatments for FH and high cholesterol

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, particularly if you have FH, you will likely be prescribed medicine as treatment. The aims of treatment are to monitor and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood to reduce the risk or stop the development of fatty build ups in the heart and arteries. These cause heart disease and lead to major cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.

Statins are the most common medicine prescribed to help lower cholesterol, but other medicines are sometimes used. For a patient with FH, over-the-counter statins are unlikely to be helpful as the dose is too low. Speak to your doctor or local Alphega Pharmacist who will be able to explain which medicine is right for you and why.

Lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol

While medicines are the main treatment in cases of extremely high cholesterol, lifestyle is still extremely important to help medicine work and to generally lower the risk of developing heart disease.

Keeping active and exercising regularly is one of the most important changes to make to your lifestyle. Not only can exercising for 150 minutes a week directly reduce cholesterol in adults, it will also help make cholesterol management easier to maintain by maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure and improving the health of your heart and cardiovascular system. The benefits of exercise are huge in lowering your risk of future heart conditions.

Lowering cholesterol with your diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet is also very important when it comes to lowering your cholesterol. It is a common misconception that patients with FH and high cholesterol have to eat a special diet, but this is not the case. The same healthy diet applies to every adult, and we should all make sure we are getting a balance of nutrients for the best health possible, including eating some specific foods that help to lower cholesterol.

Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, a variety of protein, high fibre foods, low-fat dairy foods, healthy fats and reduce your salt intake. This balanced approach to eating is the best way to maintain weight and to help regulate the levels of cholesterol in your blood.

If you are looking to change your diet or lifestyle, your local Alphega Pharmacist has all the expertise to help. They’ll help you keep a food diary, set goals and understand where you might be going wrong in your current routine. Together, we can reduce the risks of heart disease and save lives.