Every year in October, efforts are made to raise awareness about the effects of high cholesterol. HEART UK holds events and talks to raise awareness and fundraise towards vital support.
Cholesterol is actually needed in our bodies to stay healthy, but it is when the levels get too high, it becomes a problem. Cholesterol is a type of blood fat which plays a vital role in making all of our cells work how they should. It also makes hormones which keeps your bones strong and it is needed for digestion to make Vitamin D.
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High cholesterol can be inherited and it can also affect people who are slim and otherwise healthy. So, it is very important to get a test as there is no other way of knowing your levels.
“Over half of UK adults have raised cholesterol which can lead to heart disease.”
HEART UK is an active organisation who are centred around raising awareness about cholesterol. This year they are running a ‘Let’s Talk About Cholesterol’ campaign to help promote the importance of knowing your cholesterol levels.
They are also running ‘The Great Cholesterol Challenge’ to help fundraise. Being active is a major part of looking after your cholesterol levels, keeping your heart healthy and helping to prevent heart disease. This challenge involves walking, running, swimming or cycling 100 miles in October. You can apply online to get involved with this challenge at www.heartuk.org.uk.
If this sounds like too much of a challenge, too soon, then there are other ways to raise awareness and fundraise, for example, holding a ‘National Cholesterol Month’ stand at work or hosting a healthy bake sale.
By making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can instantly help keep your cholesterol levels at a healthy rate. Eating healthier, avoid smoking, cutting down on alcohol and adding more exercise into your daily routine will help make a big difference.
You can get a cholesterol test on the NHS by contacting your local GP. They will typically recommend you get a test if you are over the age of 40, overweight or if high cholesterol runs in your family.
There are two ways they are able to check your cholesterol levels. Either with a blood test which will give you results within a few days or with a finger-prick test which gives results within a few minutes.
Due to Covid-19, some patients are worried about entering doctor’s surgeries with the risk of getting infected. Surgeries and hospitals are very safe places as they maintain excellent hygiene both personal and throughout the building. You are advised not to wait until Covid-19 cases have decreased as that may be a long time and your levels may get worse
For more information, head to www.heartuk.org.uk They also have lots of downloadable booklets and factsheets that are free and easily accessible.