Check Up - Cholesterol

Having high cholesterol might not seem too alarming and the chances are you won’t have any symptoms. But keeping your cholesterol level in check drastically reduces your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. If you have raised cholesterol, how good do you really have to be when it comes to food, and how physically active? And when should you reach for the cholesterol-lowering spreads or drugs? Cholesterol expert Dr Jonathan Morrell joins Barbara Myers in the Check Up studio to take callers' questions. Much like the furring up of a water pipe, with too much cholesterol our arteries get clogged up. And when the blood starts to clot, the problems really begin. A clot in an artery supplying the heart causes angina or a heart attack, and a clot in the arteries of the brain, a stroke. Cholesterol can kill but it doesn’t act alone. It’s carried around the body by molecules called lipoproteins. High density lipoproteins (HDL) are ‘good’, removing cholesterol from the circulation. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are ‘bad’, bringing cholesterol in to the circulation where they clog the arteries. Triglycerides make matters worse by helping cholesterol to clog them further. Some people inherit high cholesterol and need medication to reduce it. But for most of us, there’s a lot we can do to help. Cutting down on foods high in saturated fats reduces levels of bad cholesterol. Exercising and eating more fruit, vegetables, plant sterols and soya can make a difference too. Around 3 million people in the UK are currently thought to take a statin to reduce their cholesterol, and according to the latest guidelines, at least as many again should be on one, but aren’t. But they don’t suit everyone. So what is the alternative?


  • 2007-12-13 15:00:00 - 2007-12-13 15:27:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,