The NHS in Leeds 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.
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 Brian Power, Long Term Conditions Clinical Lead at NHS Leeds 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, being overweight or if high cholesterol runs in the family.
By getting a simple cholesterol test and making positive lifestyle changes, most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy. You can ask your GP to test your cholesterol, 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 Bryan Power 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 which could include one or a combination of high intensity statins, Ezetemibe PCSK9i, or if applicable, the new drugs bempedoic acid and Inclisiran”.
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 (insert name) 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.
Or if you would like to know what services are available in your area, please visit (please insert CCG web page if you have a dedicated web page on healthy living)
Notes to Editor:
For more information please contact Leeds CCG Comms Team email [email protected]
About the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative
The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is an initiative delivered by West Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) working in partnership with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) across the region.
The project aims to help reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and prevent the number of heart attacks and strokes across West Yorkshire.
The project is being carried out in three phases:
- PHASE ONE – Hypertension. Helping local GPs identify and treat patients across the region who have undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) and patients who already have hypertension that may benefit from simple improvements to their existing medication or lifestyle.
- PHASE TWO – Cholesterol Management. Improving the treatment of patients with high cholesterol by switching their statin medication, if it is currently not working, and also starting people on statin medication who are at risk of a future heart attack and stroke.
- PHASE THREE – reducing CVD risk in patients with diabetes. Diabetes is a major contributor to heart attacks and strokes and the project aims to improve CVD outcomes for these patients.