People study me, talk about me and even worry about me. I frequently feature in news stories around the world. I have been misunderstood for decades – this is my chance to tell you more about me.
People refer to me as high and low, good and bad; sometimes I can be called Lipids. It’s all very confusing but I would like to make this blog as straight-forward as possible allowing you to understand why I exist, how you can keep me in balance and the risks involved when I become unbalanced.
So who am I? My nickname is Cholesterol but in actual fact my scientific name is (3β)-cholest-5-en-3-ol. 
I am usually created by your liver but I can also be found in some foods that you eat. I exist as a fatty substance known to your body as a ‘lipid’.
I exist to allow for normal functioning of your body. I play a vital role in how your cells work; I am needed to make Vitamin D, some hormones and bile for digestion 
I am carried in your bloods by proteins (called lipoproteins). There are two main types of lipoprotein; Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and High-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” because high levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. HDL (high density lipoprotein) is known as “good cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver.
Why should you keep LDL low? If too high I can build up around your artery walls. Unfortunately, when I do this, I restrict blood flow to your heart, brain and other organs. The restriction in blood flow can increase the risk of many cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
I am classed as ‘raised’ in 6 out of 10 adults. Having a cholesterol test is the only way you will know if you are one of them. People who study me say that the following are considered healthy for most people:
- a total cholesterol of 5mmol/L or less,
- a non HDL-cholesterol of 4mmol/L or less
- an LDL-cholesterol of 3mmol/L or less are
- a fasting triglyceride should be 2mmol/L or less
- a non-fasting triglyceride should be less than 4mmol/L
* mmol/L stands for Millimoles per litre
There are lots of lifestyle changes you can make in order to keep me low. Here are three examples.
- Eat less fat– Reducing the total amount of fat in your diet can also help reduce your risk of heart disease. Instead of roasting or frying, consider grilling, steaming or poaching 
- Exercise more – Exercise is a great way to raise HDL 
- Eat more fibre – Eating lots of fibre helps lower your risk of heart disease. Some high-fibre foods can help lower your cholesterol. 
I hope I have told you something about myself that you didn’t already know before. If this blog has told you something that you didn’t know previously, please let me know by via Twitter by using #cholesterolblog.
All month, Synexus are supporting Heart UK by raising awareness of Cholesterol Awareness October 2015.
When was the last time you had your cholesterol checked? Synexus has carried out 12000 cholesterol checks in the last 12 months and is now offering a complementary check to anyone taking a statin.
Your results will be shared with your GP and will determine whether you could be suitable to take part in clinical trials investigating new treatments. If you would like to book your cholesterol health check please click here