NATIONAL CHOLESTEROL MONTH
October is National Cholesterol Awareness Month!
With so many people limiting their visits to the GP or hospital in the past year due to the pandemic, it is more important than ever before to ensure you understand and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. National Cholesterol Awareness Month strives to raise awareness of the importance of understanding and maintaining a healthy cholesterol level.
At The Doctors Clinic Group, our main goal is to empower you to take control of your health, therefore here is what you need to know about your cholesterol.
WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL:
Cholesterol itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it plays a crucial role in how the body works. It is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell in your body. Our bodies need a certain level of cholesterol to help make hormones, vitamin D, and other substances used to digest food. The liver produces cholesterol and then releases it into the body. However, our bodies make all the cholesterol it needs. Therefore, any excess cholesterol is not useful and can actually be harmful to our arteries and cause health problems down the line.
Once cholesterol is in the blood stream, some of it will be returned to the liver which breaks it down and uses it to make bile acids. These bile acids are then released into the intestines to help with digestion by breaking down fats in food.
THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHOLESTEROL:
When people are talking about the different types of cholesterol, they are usually referring to the following:
- LDL Cholesterol (low density lipoprotein)
- This is often referred to as the bad cholesterol as having too much of it in the bloodstream can cause health issues. If there is too much LDL cholesterol in your body it can build up in your arteries and clog them up.
- HDL Cholesterol (high density lipoprotein)
- This is more commonly referred to as the good cholesterol, as it prevents disease. HDL cholesterol carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver which breaks it down and removes it from the body.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL:
“Fatty” deposits can build up in your blood vessels, mainly the arteries. This then causes the diameter of the blood vessels to narrow and in turn will raise your blood pressure. Sometimes the “fatty deposits” can block the blood vessels completely causing a heart attack and/or stroke.
High cholesterol can cause:
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
There are not any reliable signs or symptoms for high cholesterol. Therefore testing is essential.
A cholesterol test involves a simple blood test, this can be done in two ways:
- A finger prick test, which is quick, you only feel a small pinch, and the results can be checked there and then. This will provide a “snapshot” and provide a Total Cholesterol measurement.
- A small blood sample taken from your arm, often as a “fasting” sample when you will be instructed not to eat or drink for a number of hours prior to the blood being taken. The blood will be sent off for testing to determine the levels of your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE A CHECK:
Don't wait for National Cholesterol Month to take control of your health! You should have your cholesterol levels tested if you:
- Are aged 40 or over
- Have a history of heart disease or stroke in the family, or you have risk factors to increase your risk of heart disease or stroke
- Have a close relative with familial hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol in the blood)
- Are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol
- Have been diagnosed with heart disease
HOW CAN THE DOCTORS CLINIC GROUP HELP:
At The Doctors Clinic Group, we offer a wide range of corporate health screens. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive full body MOT or want the option of a more focused health screen, we can help.