Nearly a third of Australians have a high cholesterol. That's about 3.2 million people that are at a high risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
Cholesterol is important for everyday living. Cholesterol makes up the sides of every cell in your body. But there are good cholesterols and bad cholesterols. The good type is called HDL or high density lipoprotein or the bad type is low density lipoprotein or LDL. We can also triglycerides in that group too.
The bad cholesterol floats around in your arteries like big floppy monstrous molecules and they leave themselves everywhere as they go along messing up the place. It can stick to the sides of the walls and over time it accumulates and builds up and builds up until that whole tube is blocked. And then that's when people get heart attacks or strokes when their blood supply is actually cut off from cholesterol deposits.
The good cholesterol are like little tiny vacuum cleaners that float around your arteries and clean up the place. So they suck up the bad cholesterol that's left behind and then take it back to your liver and the your body can get rid of it. So the more good cholesterol you have and the lower bad cholesterol you have, the better your arteries are going to be.
Bad cholesterol is found in a whole range of foods that we associate as being bad. This includes a lot of fast foods, some animal products, chocolates, cakes and alcohol. A whole other range of foods as well. There are things you can eat which can increase your good cholesterol. These include fish, fish oil, flaxseed and also olive oil. Increasing your good cholesterol will help to process all the bad cholesterol and rid it from your body. It will help to keep your arteries clearer for longer.
We recommend checking your cholesterol levels if you're over the age of 40.If you've had a previous high cholesterol level. If you have a high family history of heart disease or stroke or if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. So if you have any of those, your doctor will be able to perform a simple test to check out what your cholesterol is.
If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, then it's important to look at a few different lifestyle factors to get it under control. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintain a healthy body weight, altering your diet and decreasing alcohol. But some people need medication to help them out. If your levels are high, it's important to talk to your doctor and make sure you're checking things regularly until things are under control.