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Controlling cholesterol helps people protect their heart health

The NHS in Wakefield is marking National Cholesterol Month by encouraging residents to look after their heart and check their cholesterol. The yearly awareness campaign run by charity Heart UK aims to highlight the importance of understanding what cholesterol is and how it can affect our future health.

Healthy hearts

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood. The liver makes cholesterol, and it is also in certain foods such as meat and dairy products. The body needs some cholesterol to work properly, but if there is too much, it can increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Dr Pravin Jayakumar, local GP and Cardiovascular Lead for Healthy Hearts, NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are many factors that can increase your cholesterol levels including an unhealthy diet, drinking too much, smoking, having diabetes or high blood pressure, and being overweight.

By getting a simple cholesterol test and making positive lifestyle changes, most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy. You can ask your GP Practice to test your cholesterol especially if you over the age of 40. Some local pharmacies are also able to provide cholesterol testing.”

The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to test it with a simple blood test. High cholesterol does not show any sign or symptoms, but if it is too high it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr Pravin Jayakumar added: “There are two main ways people can lower their cholesterol. You can try to manage your cholesterol levels and improve your overall wellbeing by stopping smoking, increasing your physical activity, managing stress, eating more fruit and vegetables and less food rich in saturated fat. And if these measures are not enough, your doctor might prescribe some medication, such as statins.

There are some helpful information about what cholesterol is and how to keep it under control on West Yorkshire Healthy Hearts website (WYH Healthy Hearts), along with advice on a healthy lifestyle.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is an initiative delivered by Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) working in partnership with West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership and NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group. The initiative aims to help reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease and prevent the number of heart attacks and strokes across the area. It comes under the umbrella of a wider lipid management and familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) programme which is making significant progress across the region.

For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts project visit www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk and follow @WYHHealthyHeart on Twitter.