High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Cholesterol is a natural occurring substance produced in the liver though it can also be consumed through the food we eat. These lipoproteins are essential to a healthy diet but if over-consumed, they can wreak havoc on your heart, increasing the risk of heart and circulatory diseases such as a heart attack and stroke. A diet rich in fatty foods can cause both internal and external symptoms when cholesterol is high – and these are the warning signs to look out for.
How can you tell if your cholesterol is high at home?
There are a number of home test kits available to test your cholesterol levels by administering a drop of blood onto a test strip.
Your diet is one of the most influential factors when it comes to cholesterol.
Digging deep into your diet and being honest with yourself about the amount of high-fat foods you eat is one way to assess your cholesterol levels.
If you are eating the following foods on a daily basis, there is a good chance that you are driving up your cholesterol levels without even realising:
- Cakes and biscuits
- Full-fat dairy milk, butter and ghee
- Coconut oil and palm oil
- Cream cheese/hard cheese
- Meat pies, sausages and other fatty meats
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol rarely causes ongoing symptoms but it is common for those suffering from high cholesterol to experience a sudden onset of side effects like a heart attack or stroke, which is caused by the damaging excess of lipoproteins.
While this may sound alarming, there are many known warning signs of heart problems such as heart disease which can indicate whether your cholesterol is high.
Over time, ‘bad cholesterol’ known as low-density lipoproteins (LDL) builds up around the arteries which deliver the blood supply around the body and back to the heart.
When these arteries get blocked, coronary heart disease can occur.
Symptoms of coronary heart disease caused by high cholesterol
Heart disease is not uncommon in the UK, killing more than 160,000 Brits each year according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
This fatal disease can be caused by genetics which can make you more likely to be overweight and suffer from high cholesterol due to a lack of ‘good’ cholesterol in the liver.
Symptoms of heart disease are easy to spot, though this silent killer still remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide
According to the medically accredited website Healthline, the most common symptoms of heart disease include:
- Angina (chest pain)
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the neck, jaw, upper abdomen or back
- Numbness or coldness in extremities
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How does high cholesterol affect your health?
High cholesterol can not only increase your risk of experiencing serious heart diseases, but it can also put a stop to your ability to do everyday tasks.
When your cholesterol is high, built up fatty deposits will sit around the arteries of your heart making it harder for your body to receive the blood supply it needs to stay alive.
This can slow down your entire body making simple tasks like walking, going up and down stairs and general mobility.
High cholesterol can lead to shortness of breath and pain around the chest as well making your general mobility a more strenuous task.
While high cholesterol doesn’t always mean you will suffer from damaging diseases like heart disease or even a stroke, leaving cholesterol to remain dangerously high will certainly increase the risk.
According to the BHF You are more likely to develop a heart or circulatory disease if you have high cholesterol as well as other risk factors, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Being physically active
- Being overweight
- Having diabetes
- Family history of premature coronary heart disease (before 55 for men and befoe 65 for women)
- Being of South Asian origin
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