What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. If you have been prescribed statins, your doctor has assessed that you are at significant risk of CVD. Statins can reduce this risk by a third if taken properly and at the right dose.
What causes high cholesterol?
Many factors can increase your chances of having heart problems or a stroke if you have high cholesterol.
What should my cholesterol levels be?
If you need to have your cholesterol measured, it will be in units called millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/l).
As a general guide, you should aim to have a total cholesterol level of under 4mmol/l - especially if you are at risk of, or already have, heart and circulatory disease.
How can I improve my cholesterol levels?
Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy, balanced diet; taking regular exercise and giving up smoking, help to improve cholesterol levels.
You can swap food containing saturated fat with fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals. This will also help prevent high cholesterol returning.
What are statins and why do they help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes?
Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in your blood.
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad cholesterol, and statins reduce its production inside the liver.
Why has my doctor recently changed my statin medication?
Evidence has shown that people taking more effective statins, in particular atorvastatin, enjoy additional benefit compared with those people taking less effective statins such as pravastatin or some doses of simvastatin.
Where else can I find helpful information?
- NHS Choices
- Care AF
- Diabetes UK
- British Heart Foundation
- Stroke Association
- Blood Pressure UK
- Arrhythmia Alliance
- Heart UK
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH)
FH is an inherited condition. People with FH have high cholesterol levels from birth which means they are at greater risk of developing
early heart disease.
For further information please click on the patient leaflet below.
If you have any questions or concerns about this information or the service, please contact the FH team on 0121 371 8179.
If after speaking with one of the FH team, you have concerns that you feel haven’t been answered, you can contact the Patient Relations Department at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust on 0121 371 4400 or email: PALS@uhb.nhs.uk
Further Information regarding cholesterol and FH can be found on the following websites: