October is National Cholesterol Month in the UK, a month-long initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of high cholesterol and measures that an individual can take to reduce theirs.
There are several components that together make up the blood cholesterol level, the two major components being LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, whereas high levels of HDL cholesterol are protective, and as such people often refer to LDL as the “bad” cholesterol, and to HDL as the “good”. These days doctors also talk about non-HDL cholesterol, a measure of LDL plus the other unhealthy components in the blood.
Around half of adults in the UK are thought to have high cholesterol, and a third of people have never had their cholesterol checked. It is now easy to get a cholesterol test without the need to see a doctor, with companies such as MediChecks and Randox offering cholesterol checks via mail order, and it is important to know what your level is, since there is a documented link between high cholesterol and coronary artery disease.
This year Heart UK, the UK’s cholesterol charity, has its focus on cost-effective healthy eating, helping people from all walks of life to make better decisions about the food they are eating and the effect it might have on their cholesterol. Click here to find out more.
NHS England has also updated its blog with information about cardiovascular disease prevention and what the NHS is doing to help lower the nation’s cholesterol – click here to read more.