The ten most frequently asked questions about influenza:
- What is high blood cholesterol?
- What is the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol?
- How do I know if my blood cholesterol is too high?
- How high should my cholesterol be?
- Does high blood cholesterol put my health at risk?
- Is cholesterol hereditary?
- What are the causes of high cholesterol?
- Can it be prevented?
- What treatments are available?
- Are prescription cholesterol treatments available online?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance - known as lipids – that are naturally present in the body. It makes up almost all of your cell membranes and plays a vital role in the production of sex and steroid hormones.
There are two types of cholesterol in the body, namely HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. If you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood, it’s classed as high and is dangerous. However, high HDL cholesterol is good for you.
What makes cholesterol good and bad for you depends on the kinds of lipoproteins they bond with in your body. Cholesterol needs lipoproteins so it can move around your body; some take cholesterol to cells where it can be used, and some take cholesterol from the cells to the liver where it can be excreted by the body.
High density lipoproteins (HDL) take cholesterol away from cells, but low density lipoproteins (LDL) take cholesterol to your cells. If there’s too much LDL for your cells to use, it can build up and cause a blockage in your arteries over time.
Having high cholesterol isn’t an illness on its own, so you won’t usually display any symptoms. Usually people only realise they have high cholesterol when it starts to cause serious health problems. This illustrates why it’s important to get tested regularly, so you can monitor how much LDL is in your system before you develop serious complications. The earlier you detect high cholesterol, the easier it is to monitor and treat.
Your levels are assessed whilst taking into account certain health and lifestyle factors, but the following parameters are a suitable guide:
- Optimal: less than 5mmol/l
- Optimal: less than 5mmol/l
- Moderately high : 6.5 to 7/8 mmol/l
- Very high : above 7.8 mmol/l
High levels of LDL can result in a build-up of cholesterol in your blood and the walls of your arteries, which can cause numerous health problems as well as blocking your vessels. As this cholesterol builds up, it can cause a hardening of the arteries, which makes it much more difficult for blood to circulate and can starve your muscles of oxygen. In the most dangerous cases, this can cause fatal blood clots in the brain.
Some people can be genetically prone to developing high blood cholesterol; this is known as familial hypercholesterolemia. Around one in 500 people have high LDL cholesterol levels that are caused by a lack of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol away from blood. In these cases, people are usually born with this condition.
If you aren’t genetically predisposed to develop high blood pressure, there are other factors that can contribute to high blood cholesterol. Kidney and liver disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and an underactive thyroid gland can all increase LDL blood levels. However, one of the main contributing factors is lifestyle: a high fat diet, lack of physical activity and obesity can all cause high cholesterol.
Eating a healthy diet and remaining active are the best ways to prevent high blood cholesterol. Exercise stimulates the lipoproteins that take cholesterol away from the blood, and eating healthily can limit the amount of lipoproteins which increase cholesterol in your blood.
This isn’t always effective, especially if your high HDL levels are hereditary. In cases where lifestyle isn’t a cause of high cholesterol, you should seek treatment to improve your condition more effectively.
Making lifestyle changes and becoming more active is usually the first thing you’ll be advised to do if your high cholesterol isn’t hereditary. If you can’t reduce your cholesterol levels in this way, you’ll probably be prescribed medication to reduce the levels for you. Known as statins, these treatments prevent the liver from producing 'bad' cholesterol altogether.
Aspirin and niacin are sometimes recommended. Aspirin prevents blood clotting, while niacin both lowers dangerous cholesterol and increases the lipoproteins that remove cholesterol from the blood. Ezetimibe is a treatment prescribed to people who can’t take statins, or given to people alongside a course of statins to lower LDL levels.
You can buy Simvastatin - a medication that reduces the production of LDL in your body - online from HealthExpress.eu if you complete a consultation with a registered doctor and they feel it’s safe for you to use. When reviewing your consultation, the doctor will provide you with a personalised diagnosis and suggest relevant treatments that you can review before placing an order.