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Cholesterol is present in all cells in the body. This waxy, fat-like substance is essential in producing hormones, vitamin D, and substances in the body that helps digest food. The body can produce all the cholesterol needed, but cholesterol is also in foods from animal sources such as cheese, meat and milk.

Excess cholesterol in the blood may combine with other substances found in the blood to form plaque. The plaque adheres to the walls of the arteries and, over time, builds up to cause atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to coronary artery disease.

What are LDL, VLDL and HDL?

LDL, VLDL and HDL are lipoproteins. These are a combination of protein and fat (lipid). The lipids are attached to proteins to enable movement through the blood. The different lipoproteins have varying functions.

What causes high cholesterol?

Unhealthy lifestyle choices are the most common cause of high cholesterol. It includes:

Genetics is also a risk factor for high cholesterol levels. For example, some people have familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), an inherited form of high cholesterol. Certain medications and medical conditions may increase cholesterol levels.

What can increase the risk of high cholesterol levels?

Different factors can increase your risk of high cholesterol. They include:

What are the health implications of high cholesterol?

Large deposits of plaques in your arteries can cause the affected area to rupture. This may lead to a blood clot forming on the plaque’s surface. If the blood clot becomes large, it may partially or completely obstruct blood flow in the coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the heart muscles is reduced or obstructed, chest pain (angina) or a heart attack may occur.

Plaque can also form in other arteries in the body, including the arteries carrying oxygen-rich blood to the limbs and brain. This may result in health issues such as stroke, peripheral arterial disease and carotid artery disease.

Diagnosis for high cholesterol

High cholesterol usually shows no symptoms. However, you can have a blood test at Private Blood Tests London to check your cholesterol levels. The frequency and time for this test will depend on your age, family history and risk factors. Generally, the recommendations include the following:

19 years or younger

20 years or older

How can I reduce my cholesterol levels?

You can lower your cholesterol by making heart-healthy lifestyle changes. This includes weight management, regular physical activity and a heart-healthy eating plan.

If lifestyle changes alone aren’t sufficient to reduce cholesterol levels, you may need to take medications. The medications are necessary alongside lifestyle changes.

Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may get a treatment known as lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment involves a filtering machine that removes LDL from the blood. The machine will return the filtered blood to the body.

You can undergo your cholesterol test at our clinic. Call us today on 02071830244 to book an appointment for your test.