Check your knowledge about cholesterol.

  • Should every person know their cholesterol?
  • Is HDL the good and LDL the bad cholesterol?
  • To lower your cholesterol you should eat less saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, and lose weight?
  • Both men and woman should be concerned about high cholesterol and heart disease?
  • Saturated fats raise your blood cholesterol level more than anything else?

The answer to all these questions is YES.

What is cholesterol?

It is a waxy substance found in all parts of the body, and helps make cell membranes, some hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is produced by your liver and the food you eat. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal fats eg: meat, eggs, whole milk, poultry (the skin), sea food other than fish.

Eating too much dietary cholesterol will raise your levels!

Why is high cholesterol bad?

With too much cholesterol in the blood, the excess builds up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart (called atherosclerosis /hardening of the arteries). This narrows the arteries and clogs or slows the blood flow to the heart causing less blood to reach the heart, thus the heart gets less oxygen. This leads to chest pain, heart attack, stroke and even death.

Unfortunately the build-up happens very slowly and a person may not be aware of it until too late. A heart attack may be the first indication that something is wrong !!!

Risk factors for cholesterol/heart disease

  • Factors you can change
    • cigarette smoking
    • high blood cholesterol
    • high blood pressure
    • diabetes
    • obesity/overweight
    • physical inactivity
    • stress
    • alcohol
  • Factors you cannot change
    • age and sex
    • family history

The more risk factors you have, the bigger your chance of heart problems. By reducing your cholesterol, losing weight, stop smoking and doing exercise you can reduce your risks dramatically!

How can I reduce my cholesterol?

As diet is the biggest contributor to high cholesterol, it goes without saying that this is where you cut back.

Choose food :

  • low in saturated fat (fruit, veggies, whole grain), and in total fat
  • high in starch and fibre (cereals, pasta, bread, grain)
  • low in cholesterol (lean meat, chicken without skin, fish, skimmed milk, low fat milk products, egg whites, etc.)

Change your daily routine, do exercise (that you like), use stairs instead of lifts, ride a bicycle, work in the garden, park further away from the shops, etc.

Know your level of your cholesterol

Read the labels of the food you buy (observe fat content etc).