High cholesterol: The sign on your face that can be ‘itchy or tender to touch’ – doctor
High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol, which is produced by your liver, is essential in the production of healthy cells, vitamin D and certain hormones. However, as Doctor Brian Clapp, Consultant Cardiologist for The Cardiac Clinic at London Bridge Hospital (part of HCA UK), explained, if you have too much “bad cholesterol” in your blood it can hike your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“People who have familial hypercholesterolaemia face a higher risk of heart disease due to the amount of time they have had high levels of LDL compared to someone who develops high cholesterol later on in life,” explained Doctor Clapp.
“Even without symptoms it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly by your GP to ensure they are healthy,” advised Doctor Clapp.
According to the NHS, you can only find out if you have it from a blood test.
“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the health body.
“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”
How to respond
Doctor Clapp said: “For everyone there are sensible lifestyle measures that should be undertaken, including regular exercise and a low fat diet, to reduce the risk of developing arterial disease.”
The key to a low fat diet is shunning foods high in saturated fats.
Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), eating a diet high in saturated fat is associated with raised levels of LDL cholesterol.
“But just replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates, like sugary foods and drinks, won’t improve your health,” notes the BHF.
The health body continues: “Replacing it with unsaturated fats such as oily fish, nuts, or vegetable oils like rapeseed or sunflower oil, does seem to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.”
“Remember, though, all types of fat are high in calories, so eating too much can lead to weight gain,” it adds.
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