Learn how to manage your blood cholesterol to reduce your chances of heart disease.
What is high blood cholesterol?
High blood cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol is a fat found in the blood. There are two main types of blood cholesterol: high density or HDL cholesterol and low density or LDL cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is the ‘bad’ cholesterol. HDL is the ‘good’ cholesterol. Too much of the ‘bad’ — or not enough of the ‘good’ — increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain.
Learn more about high blood cholesterol.
What increases my risk of high blood cholesterol?
Have your cholesterol tested if you:
- Are a male over 40 years of age
- Are female over 50 years of age and/or post-menopausal
- Have heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
- Have a waist circumference greater than 94 cm (37 inches) for men and 80 cm (31.5 inches) for women
- Smoke or have smoked within the last year
- Have erectile dysfunction
- Have a family history of heart disease or stroke
Learn more about your risk for high cholesterol and test results.
How can I control my blood cholesterol levels?
What you eat has a huge impact on your health. Highly processed foods are a major source of saturated fat and are high in calories, sodium, sugar and sometimes trans fats. Saturated fat increases LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
Here are ways to prevent and manage your blood cholesterol levels:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Cook and eat more meals at home. Cooking at home allows you to select whole and minimally processed foods.
- Make eating out a special occasion. Eating out usually results in you consuming large amounts of food, more fat, salt and sugar.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Lowering your weight is a great way to reduce your blood cholesterol levels.
- Get active and exercise at least 150 minutes a week. Choose activities you like: cycling, swimming, gardening and walking are great ways to keep active.
- Quit smoking.
Get more tips on how to control your blood cholesterol levels.