Cholesterol is essential for the body’s health, but can also be extremely dangerous. Cholesterol is carried through the blood by proteins, creating lipoproteins. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) carry cholesterol back to the liver where it is broken down, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) carry cholesterol around the body, and if there is too much, then it can build up in the arteries, impeding blood flow and increasing the risks of heart disease, blood clots and strokes.
High cholesterol may be caused by several different factors, including genetics, thyroid conditions and kidney disease. People with close relatives who suffer from high cholesterol are also more at risk of developing it themselves. However, there are strong links with obesity, particularly where a person eats a diet that is high in saturated fats. Diabetes, which is also linked with obesity, can alter the balance of HDL and LDL in the body, leading to higher levels of LDL clogging the arteries and resulting in a greater propensity for high blood pressure and heart attacks.
The best way to deal with and reduce high cholesterol is through a healthy lifestyle – quitting smoking, exercising moderately, drinking less alcohol and eating a diet low in saturated fats. However, in some cases where the arteries are severely clogged, medications may be prescribed to prevent further clogging and rebalance the levels of LDL and HDL in the blood.
It is almost impossible to tell if you have high cholesterol, without a blood test. However adults who are overweight, carry excessive abdominal fat, and may smoke or drink quite large quantities of alcohol, should think about having their level of cholesterol tested.
HOW WEIGHTMATTERS CAN HELP
Our private doctor can arrange blood tests to check cholesterol levels and advice on other relevant tests to check for associated complications. They can also carry out a personal risk assessment of developing cardiovascular complications (stroke, heart problems) in the future. Referrals to other practitioners may be made, and medication prescribed if necessary
Our dietician will design an appropriate programme to reduce cholesterol levels and support a more healthy, active lifestyle
Our therapists can support you in addressing any psychological factors that underlie your eating or drinking behavior, which may be having an impact on your physical health
Your body therapist will devise a treatment plan including abdominal massage and general relaxation.