High Cholesterol

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What is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol, which is known as a lipid, is a substance that is found in your body and in certain foods. In the right levels, it keeps your body functioning in a healthy and normal way. However, if you have an excessively high level of these lipids, it can lead to serious health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.

What Medicine Direct can offer for High Cholesterol

Medicine Direct offers a variety of high cholesterol treatments and medication to suit your specific needs, including Atorvastatin, Simvastatin and Diclofenac. There are several types of medication to help lower your levels of cholesterol, including Statins, Aspirin, Ezetimibe and bile acid sequestrants (resins) or fibrates. You will need to speak with a doctor to discuss the best type and dosage of high cholesterol medication for you. You can read more about how these treatments work below.

What is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that is found in two different places. The first is the body, where it is made mainly by the liver and is vital to keep your body functioning in a healthy and normal way. Cholesterol can also be found in certain foods.

The substance, which is fatty and waxy, is also known as a lipid. If you have an excessively high level of these lipids, it is bad for your health and you have what is called high cholesterol. This excess of cholesterol, which lives in your blood, clogs up your arteries and makes it harder for blood to pump around your body and reach vital organs such as your heart. Blood clots can also form, which can cut off the blood flow or break away and become lodged elsewhere, causing a stroke or heart attack.

High cholesterol can also lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, angina, mini-strokes (TIAs), vascular dementia and peripheral arterial disease (PADs).

Causes of High Cholesterol

There are a number of factors that can lead to increased levels of cholesterol in the body. As a high cholesterol can lead to a number of other very serious medical conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, it is essential to identify the possible causes of a high cholesterol level.

  • Lifestyle and diet choices are possible the single biggest cause of a high cholesterol, such as eating unhealthy foods particularly those that are high in saturated fats.
  • Smoking -  Smoking can cause narrowing of the arteries
  • Having Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Genetics, a family history of high cholesterol levels will also increase your risks of developing the same

High Cholesterol Treatment

If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, the first step is to make changes to your diet and lifestyle. You will need to exercise more often, stop drinking excessively, stop smoking altogether and eat healthier foods. High cholesterol foods include those high in saturated fat, including fatty meats or meat products, butter, lard, cream, cheese and cake. These should be replaced with healthier foods like fruit and vegetables. However, if after a few months your levels haven’t reduced to a lower level, you may need high cholesterol medication.

Statins block a type of chemical, called an enzyme, that makes cholesterol. Once blocked, the level of cholesterol in your blood reduces. Some people are intolerant to statins, suffering side effects like headaches and stomach problems. Statins must be taken for life, as cholesterol levels will rise once again after the medication is stopped. For that reason, statins are only prescribed to people with a high risk of heart disease.

Aspirin is usually only prescribed to people over the age of 40 to stop blood clots forming. These are prescribed in low, daily doses.

Ezetimibe is an alternative high cholesterol treatment to statins. Cholesterol is absorbed from your intestines, where your food and bile juices are, and into your blood. Ezetimibe works by blocking this absorption. You can take this medication alone, or alongside a statin. While it rarely causes side effects on its own, it is not believed to be as effective as a statin.

Bile acid sequestrants (resins) or fibrates are another alternative if the above medications do not suit you. Bile acid sequestrants (resins) medication binds itself to bile acids to stop them from being reabsorbed from the intestines into your blood.

Risk Factors of High Cholesterol

Having high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of developing other health problems such as the following:

  • Cardiovascular Disease which also includes conditions such as Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke. Coronary Heart Disease can also lead to Angina and increase your risk of a heart attack.
  • If you have already suffered from a Stroke or Heart Attack you may be prescribed statins in order to decrease the likelihood of experiencing another episode
  • When arteries become hardened by cholesterol, the heart has to work extra hard in order to pump blood through the blood vessels and around the body. This causes blood pressure to increase to very high levels.

High Cholesterol Symptoms and Warning Signs

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, which means it can be hard to know if you have it. It can only be detected with a blood test.

Getting A High Cholesterol Test

If you would like to buy high cholesterol medication online, fill out a Medicine Direct health questionnaire here. This will be passed to one of our doctors, who will assess your symptoms and prescribe the right course of treatment for you.