What is high cholesterol?What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol refers to excessive levels of fatty substances in the bloodstream. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and peripheral artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels of the limbs).
What are the risk factors?Risk factors for high cholesterol
Lifestyle risk factors – including smoking, lack of physical activity, obesity, unhealthy diet and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Pre-existing medical conditions – such as high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and kidney diseases that affect kidney function.
A strong family history of high cholesterol
Early menopause in women
Diagnosing high cholesterolDiagnosing high cholesterol
High cholesterol has no symptoms, so regular checkups at the doctor are very important. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol.
What are the important components when testing cholesterol?
LDL Cholesterol – This is referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol and is involved in forming blockages in the arteries
HDL Cholesterol – This is referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol
Triglycerides – These are the main form of fat stored in the body. Any food that isn’t used for energy immediately – such as carbohydrates, fat or protein – is also converted into triglycerides.
Know your targets for each type of cholesterolKnow your targets for each type of cholesterol
The below table outlines how cholesterol and triglyceride levels are classified, and can assist you in seeing where your cholesterol level sits.1
Total Blood Cholesterol (mmol/L [mg/dL])
< 5.2 (200)
5.2 – 6.1 (200 – 239)
≥ 6.2 (240)
LDL Cholesterol (mmol/L [mg/dL])
< 2.6 (100)
2.6 – 3.3 (100 – 129)
3.4 – 4.0 (130 – 159)
4.1 – 4.8 (160 – 189)
≥ 4.9 (190)
HDL Cholesterol (mmol/L [mg/dL])
< 1.0 (40)
1.0 – 1.5 (40 – 59)
≥ 1.6 (60)
Triglyceride (mmol/L [mg/dL])
< 1.7 (150)
1.7 – 2.2 (150 – 199)
2.3 – 4.4 (200 – 399)
≥ 4.5 (400)
Go for regular check-upsGo for regular check-ups
When high cholesterol is suspected and following diagnosis, it is important to maintain regular consultation with your doctor to ensure the condition is being effectively managed.2
Treatment for high cholesterolTreatment for high cholesterol
The most common treatment for high cholesterol are medications known as statins, in addition to dietary changes.
Prevention of high cholesterolPrevention of high cholesterol
The best way to prevent high cholesterol is through healthy lifestyle changes and regular screening. This should include:
Eating a diet that includes many fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Limiting the amount of fats intake and eat in moderation
Maintaining a healthy weight
Exercising on most days of the week for at least 30 minutes