What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a chemical building block found naturally within the cells of the body. Our bodies naturally produce cholesterol because it is needed to make steroid hormones, vitamin D, as well as bile acids, which help the gut digest and absorb dietary fat. Your blood transports cholesterol around the body on protein structures known as lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoprotein: high density lipoprotein (HDL) or 'good cholesterol,' and low density lipoprotein (LDL) or 'bad cholesterol.' Too much LDL cholesterol and too little HDL cholesterol in the blood can cause blood vessels to become narrowed or blocked.
Raised levels of 'bad' LDL is a significant risk factor for:
- Heart attacks
- Chest pains
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA- also known as "mini store")
- Narrowing of the blood vessels
- Other cardiovascular diseases
Problems with high cholesterol may occur when our body is supplemented by extra cholesterol from food. Foods high in saturated fats and trans fats are a particularly abundant source of extra cholesterol.
Dietician treatment of high cholesterol
Adapting habits, such as eating a healthy and balanced diet and keeping active can help prevent high levels of cholesterol from developing. A dietitian can help prevent and reduce high cholesterol by implementing healthy changes and by providing important education about daily lifestyle improvements.