Learn about the causes of Cholesterol Issues & find a practitioner in Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin to help you overcome Cholesterol Issues within New Zealand.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and found in blood and cells. Cholesterol issues develop from high levels of cholesterol causing diseases of the heart and blood vessels (angina, heart attack, stroke, blocked arteries). High cholesterol comes from a diet high in saturated fat, lack of exercise, family history, obesity or excessive drinking. Treatments for cholesterol issues include dietary and lifestyle changes and cholesterol lowering drugs.
Causes of cholesterol issues
There are many factors leading to cholesterol issues with the most
common being lifestyle choices. Lifestyle risk factors are preventable
but the following will increase the risk of developing high cholesterol.
Poor diet – an unhealthy diet containing too much saturated fat can have a detrimental effect on blood cholesterol. Red meat, meat pies, sausages, cheese, butter, cakes, biscuits, pastry and cream are all high in saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation.
Lack of physical activity – a sedentary lifestyle increases Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (which leads to arterial disease) and decreases High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the fats which prevent arterial disease).
Obesity – being overweight increases LDL and decreases HDL leading to high blood cholesterol levels.
Drinking - more than the recommended 3-4 units per day for men and 2-3 for women.
There are also a number of treatable risk factors to cholesterol issues such as high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, under-active thyroid, high triglyceride blood level.
Risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, stroke or cholesterol conditions can lead to cholesterol issues. Being male carries a greater risk of developing high cholesterol as does age – the older you are the higher the risk of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries).
The menopause or being of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan descent also carries an increase of cholesterol issues.
Symptoms of cholesterol issues
Having high cholesterol doesn't mean you have a disease but it may be
causing a serious underlying problem such as heart disease, risk of
stroke or angina. The most common condition caused by cholesterol is
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
CHD is caused by the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart – a condition known as atherosclerosis. When cholesterol and other substances build up in the artery lining bloodflow is restricted. Blood clots are more likely to develop when the arteries have a build up of fatty deposits and this can trigger a heart attack.
Symptoms of atherosclerosis include:
Diagnosis of cholesterol issues
In the first instance a blood test will measure the level of
cholesterol in your blood. The test will identify LDL levels, HDL
levels and triglycerides (fatty substance produced by the liver but
also present in dairy products, meat and oils).
Blood cholesterol is measured in millimoles per litre and in the UK the total recommended level is 5mmol/litre with an LDL of 3mmol/litre.
Many chemists offer free cholesterol checks or you can visit your GP. You should have your blood cholesterol checked if: