Understanding high Cholesterol and its impact on your heart

 

High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and can really impact on a person’s quality of life. Left unchecked it can result in heart disease which remains one of the main causes of premature death in Europe.

This is why Alphega Pharmacy is working hard to raise awareness about detection and management of high cholesterol. Routine health checks, dietary and lifestyle changes and diagnosis by Alphega Pharmacists are all things that we can help with to keep your risk of heart disease as low as possible.

With many doctors focusing on the response to COVID-19, it’s all too easy to put off seeking the right advice. Your Alphega Pharmacist is ideally placed to discuss your cholesterol and heart health concerns and it’s important that you make this a priority.  Your local Alphega Pharmacist is there to help you get the diagnosis, detection, treatment and peace of mind you need to stay healthy.

High cholesterol is a condition that is hard to spot without seeing an expert. Visit your local Alphega Pharmacist to get more information, advice and peace of mind when it comes to your cholesterol and the health of your heart. Find your local Alphega Pharmacy here

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What does high cholesterol do to my body?

There are two main types of cholesterol which are fats made in the liver and are present in some foods. We need good cholesterol to stay healthy as it helps our body to do things like produce vitamin D, hormones, and keep bones, muscles and cells healthy.

However, too much bad cholesterol in the blood can cause fatty build ups on the walls of arteries making it harder for blood to flow through. This makes pumping blood more difficult for your heart and raises your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. Over time, the fatty deposits in arteries can also harden and then break up, which can cause blockages and ruptures in the artery. 

High cholesterol is usually the result of a poor diet or lack of exercise, or a combination of both. In some cases it can also be caused by genetic conditions passed down through your family.

How to lower cholesterol

Your Alphega Pharmacist or doctor can discuss medication with you, should that be needed to lower cholesterol. However, the good news is that most of us can lower excess blood fat through changes in our behaviours and diet.

The first positive step to lowering cholesterol is to lead a more active lifestyle. Adults should aim for around 150 minutes of exercise every week as a minimum. Children under 18 need one hour of activity every day, and children under five should be active for three hours or more.

We recommend making these activities form part of your routine by fitting in bursts of activity throughout your day. Finding activities you enjoy is the best way of sticking to them.

Next, a healthy balanced diet is the cornerstone of cholesterol management. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as wholegrains and high-fibre foods. If you eat meat, mix up your protein intake by introducing nuts, fish and lentils to your diet. Swap dairy and fats for low-fat options in foods like yoghurts and spreads. Lastly, cut down on sugar and salt in your diet – excess amounts lead to weight gain and raised blood pressure. Most importantly, maintain a healthy weight whatever you eat.

If you want more tailored advice on diet or lifestyle tips that are right for you to lower cholesterol, be sure to ask your local Alphega Pharmacist. Find your nearest Alphega Pharmacy here