In simple terms, cholesterol is a fatty substance made in the liver and found in all of your body’s cells. You can also find it in many foods we eat, such as full-fat dairy products and red meat.
We all need some cholesterol in our bodies to function correctly, as cholesterol can be found in the brain, heart, intestines, liver, muscles, nerves and skin.
Why should I be worried about high cholesterol?
Although we all need some cholesterol in our bodies to function, too much cholesterol can cause health issues and leave you more at risk of suffering from conditions such as heart disease.
If cholesterol levels in your body are too high, it can build up inside the walls of your arteries that carry blood to your heart. This build-up of cholesterol can lead to less blood and oxygen reaching your heart, which can cause chest pain and heart attacks. High cholesterol levels can also increase your chances of suffering from a stroke.
Good cholesterol vs bad cholesterol
Good cholesterol, also known as HDL (high-density lipoprotein), takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood, preventing it from building up in your arteries.
Bad cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), leads to the build-up of plaque on the walls of your arteries and increases your chances of suffering from heart disease.
What is a high cholesterol level?
Most doctors recommend keeping your cholesterol level below 200 mg/dL. You will be classed as borderline high if your cholesterol level is between 200 mg/dL and 239 mg/dL. Anything 240 mg/dL and above is classed as high cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol, LDL, level of 190 mg/dL or above place you at serious risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other issues caused by clogged arteries.
Good cholesterol, HDL, helps to protect you against heart disease, so a higher number is better.
What can make cholesterol levels go up?
Being overweight can cause your bad cholesterol levels to go up and your good cholesterol levels to drop. Eating foods high in cholesterol, such as egg yolks, red meat and full-fat dairy products, can also increase your cholesterol levels.
Women may also find that their cholesterol levels go up after menopause.
At what age should I start to check my cholesterol levels?
It is essential to check your cholesterol levels at a relatively young age, as clogging of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) builds up over many years. You should start checking your total cholesterol levels at the age of 20 and then every five years after that – unless there is a history of high cholesterol in your family, you should test for high cholesterol more often.
How can I check my cholesterol levels at home?
The Test2Go Cholesterol Test can indicate whether you are at risk of developing cardiovascular problems. Using it to determine if your cholesterol levels are high can help you make the positive dietary and lifestyle changes you need to improve your chances of leading a long and healthy life.
Our test is for advisory purposes only. It is not a medical diagnosis.
NB. It is important to note that our tests are not a substitute for seeing a doctor, particularly if you have symptoms. It would help if you did not make a diagnosis or start any treatment without a consultation with a doctor or a suitably trained health professional.
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