We all need cholesterol in our blood to stay healthy. But if we have too much (or too little) cholesterol, this can become a problem.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance made in the liver and found in all of our body’s cells.
Most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy by taking a simple cholesterol test and making positive lifestyle changes.
Why do we need cholesterol?
Cholesterol has three main functions in our bodies:
- It makes up part of the outer layer of all our body’s cells
- It makes Vitamin D and steroid hormones to keep our bones, muscles and teeth healthy
- It produces bile to help us digest the fats we eat
What are good and bad cholesterol?
There are two main types of cholesterol – “good” cholesterol (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
The role of HDL, high-density lipoprotein, is to enable blood fats such as cholesterol to be transported within the bloodstream.
HDL carries typically about a quarter of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood in a healthy individual. It is best known for its protective role against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes – which is why it is given the name “good” cholesterol.
However, the actual cholesterol in HDL does not protect against disease. What it does is:
- remove excess cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and return it to the liver for recycling and removal from the body
- protects the artery walls against LDL cholesterol
- protects cells and essential chemical messengers in the blood and tissues from being broken down
LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol as it can collect in the walls of your blood vessels, raising the chances of you having a heart attack or stroke.
A simple blood test can check the cholesterol levels in your body, with lower numbers being better when it comes to LDL cholesterol test results.
The higher the levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood, the more likely you are to suffer from:
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart disease, including angina and heart attacks
- Perphireapl artery disease
The NHS guide to cholesterol levels shows that:
Why should I take a cholesterol level test?
A raised cholesterol level can increase the risk of coronary and heart disease when paired with other external and internal factors.
If you think you might be at risk of high cholesterol, you should consider checking your cholesterol levels – as early detection will allow you to take preventative action.
The Test2Go cholesterol test is easy to use, and you should have your easy to interpret result within 5 minutes.
If the test result indicates that you have raised cholesterol levels, then you should speak to your GP, as no medical decisions should be taken without the input of a medical professional.
If you have high LDL cholesterol levels, your GP may recommend cholesterol-lowering medicine and lifestyle changes to lower your heart disease and stroke risk.
If you have low HDL cholesterol levels, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes that may help raise your levels.