Four key reasons to check your total cholesterol level

High cholesterol is a serious health issue facing one in three Australian adults but, with little to no visible symptoms, many are unaware they have the condition.

Even fit, healthy-looking people can have high cholesterol levels. And, for some, the first sign of a cholesterol problem could be a heart attack or stroke.

Fortunately, knowing your cholesterol level can help you reduce your risk of heart and circulatory problems, and that’s a priceless outcome for you and your family.

In this article, we explain what you need to know about high cholesterol symptoms and the four key reasons why, if you’re over the age of 45, you should check your cholesterol regularly.

High #cholesterol symptoms are often unseen. Even fit, healthy-looking people can have #highcholesterol Click To Tweet

 

1. High cholesterol symptoms are silent

According to an Australian Health Survey, one in three Australian adults have high total cholesterol, yet only one in ten are aware they have a problem.

Most people won’t experience high cholesterol symptoms until there is enough build-up in their arteries to cause heart or cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is related to atherosclerosis – a process where fatty deposits can build in your arteries, causing them to narrow and restrict blood flow, particularly to the heart or brain.

When blood flow to the heart is reduced, you can experience chest pain, which is called angina. Or, if it’s blocked completely, you can have a heart attack.

Reduced or interrupted blood flow can also put you at increased risk of blood clots or result in a stroke.

One of the visible signs of high cholesterol can be small skin-coloured lumps around the corners of the eyelids, known as Xanthelasma, but this only appears in some cases.

That’s why it’s important to know your cholesterol level before the more serious symptoms of heart or cardiovascular disease appear.

Most people won’t experience #highcholesterol symptoms until there is enough build-up to cause #heartdisease Click To Tweet

 

2. There are a number of factors that put you at risk

There are several risk factors that increase your chance of developing high cholesterol.

You’re more likely to develop it if:

High cholesterol levels can also happen due to other conditions like diabetes and liver or kidney disease.

 

By identifying your risk factors you can lower your cholesterol levels

 

If you identify with one or more of these risk factors, it’s important to check your cholesterol level regularly. This will allow you to take steps to lower your cholesterol if your level is outside the healthy range.

 

2. Know your cholesterol level

Because there are often no visible signs of high cholesterol, knowing your cholesterol level is key to avoiding complications from heart disease. T

Heart Foundation Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Garry Jennings AO says it’s important for all adults over 45 to have regular heart health checks that involve testing for cholesterol.

“We advise all adults aged 45 and over to have regular heart health checks with their health professionals, and to be aware of their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s important to know your numbers.”

 

– Professor Garry Jennings AO, Heart Foundation Chief Medical Advisor

 

Because there are often no visible signs of high cholesterol, checking your #cholesterol level is key. Click To Tweet

 

 

Food and exercise can have an impact on high cholesterol treatment

 

4. Knowing your numbers means you can take action

Once you know your cholesterol level, you can talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.

There are many simple ways to lower your cholesterol, like changing your diet and increasing your physical activity. Even just walking more can have a big impact.

Stopping smoking and reducing your alcohol intake are also important steps you can choose to help improve your cholesterol level.

Some people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medication, called statins, to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

Statins work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol. They may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has built up in your arteries.

Your doctor will advise you if you need to take this medication based on your cholesterol level and other risk factors for heart disease.

It’s important to know your #cholesterol level so you can take action if needed. #hearthealth Click To Tweet

 

Over to you: do you know your total cholesterol level? When was the last time you had yours checked?

 

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