Cholesterol is an essential component of our bodies and while adults are concerned about their cholesterol levels and health, it can help to review your current lifestyle with your doctor and make changes that can help to improve your cholesterol levels if you are worried about them.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body produces naturally and is essential for the life of all animals, including humans. It is found in virtually every cell of the human body and is needed for many bodily functions such as:
- Bile acid creation: The liver converts cholesterol into bile acids that help your body to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
- Cell integrity: Cholesterol is required for maintaining cell structure
- Cholesterol is used to make steroid hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and vitamin D3
- Myelin sheath formation: The myelin sheath that protects nerve cells contains lots of cholesterol
Cholesterol is primarily produced by the liver and your body makes most of the cholesterol that is found circulating in your bloodstream.
Cholesterol and diet
Cholesterol synthesis and absorption are very complex mechanisms that are influenced by many things, including family genes, the current state of health, ongoing health conditions and nutrition.
Contrary to popular belief, dietary cholesterol that is found in animal foods such as eggs, organ meats, cheese and shellfish make up a tiny portion of your total blood cholesterol and should not be feared or avoided. Most fatty cuts of meat and dairy products contain just a small amount of cholesterol that is so low it is counted in milligrams.
After many decades of standard advice to avoid egg yolks and red meat, we now know that eating cholesterol-rich foods doesn’t impact our blood cholesterol levels to be of any significant importance. Test on patients eating foods particularly high in cholesterol saw their livers produce less, resulting in stable levels of blood cholesterol.
Changing your diet and lifestyle
Changing your diet and lifestyle can also see a temporary rise in cholesterol due to losing weight. Although you may initially see a drop in cholesterol numbers in the first two or three months of losing a lot of body weight, your levels may rise again until your weight has stabilised for a while.
Once you stop losing weight and maintain a healthy weight, cholesterol levels tend to come back down again, so it can make sense to wait for a few months after changing your diet and lifestyle and losing weight before checking your cholesterol levels again.
Research has consistently shown that switching to low carbohydrate and keto diets help reduce many heart disease risk factors, especially in people with diabetes and other insulin-resistant conditions.
By avoiding unhealthy factory-made packaged foods such as products that contain sugar, grains and processed vegetable and seed oils (rapeseed, sunflower, soya etc.) and switching to a very-low-carb diet that contains natural unprocessed foods can be more effective at improving cardiovascular health markers such as lower body fat, lower blood glucose levels, lower insulin levels, increased insulin sensitivity and stable cholesterol levels.
Adding more exercise
Taking part in regular, gentle exercise can give your body and mind an overall positive health boost. Those with sedentary jobs or lifestyles need to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week and this can be made up of gentle activities to begin with, such as walking, swimming, taking a beginners exercise class or learning Tai Chi.
If you start by taking up a few different things you will eventually find something you really enjoy and will be keen to keep on doing to benefit your health.
It is also important to stop smoking as this can raise your cholesterol levels and can make you more prone to lung diseases, strokes, heart attacks and cancer.
Cutting down on your alcohol consumption is also advised if you want to keep your cholesterol levels under control. If you want to drink, try not to consume for than 14 units of alcohol per week and incorporate several drink-free days each week to give your system a rest.
You should ask your GP for help and advice if you’re struggling to cut down on your drinking.
Medicine to lower your cholesterol
Your doctor may recommend you take cholesterol-lowering medications should any changes to your diet and lifestyle fails to bring your levels down. Your doctor may also recommend you take medication if you are at a high risk of having a stroke or heart attack, or you have a strong family history of heart conditions.
There is a wide range of cholesterol-lowering medications on the market. Statins, such as Crestor, are the most commonly prescribed medication for people with high cholesterol. Statins work to reduce the amount of cholesterol your body produces.
However, there are other cholesterol-lowering medications you can take if you prefer not to take a statin, or if they don’t work to bring down your cholesterol. These include ezetimibe, fibrates and bile acid sequestrants.
Access Doctor offers a range of cholesterol-lowering medications, including Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Fluvastatin Capsules and Crestor, which you can obtain through a prescription with one of our online medical doctors.
Our process is simple, confidential and discreet. You simply choose the cholesterol-lowering medication you want to buy and complete our online health consultation form. Our fully qualified doctors will then check your information and issue your prescription if it is considered a suitable treatment for your health condition.
Our doctors may refuse your treatment request but may offer an alternative treatment that is better suited to your needs.
You can then pay for your prescription medication and our team of dispensing pharmacists to complete your order. Your medication will be posted to you in discreet packaging and most cases will be fulfilled using our free next-day delivery service.