High cholesterol levels can put your health at risk by increasing your risk of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
There is good and bad cholesterol
Contrary to the myth that all fats are bad, some are good for you. Your body produces healthy levels of cholesterol. The cholesterol is then carried through your blood by attaching itself to proteins known as a lipoprotein.
A low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is known as "bad" cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries making them hard and narrow- increasing your chances of suffering a stroke or a heart attack.
A high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good" cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol that is produced by your body to be processed by the liver.
However, there are things that can cause your cholesterol levels to rise to “bad” cholesterol.
Risk factors of Bad cholesterol
Lack of exercise. Not exercising can spike your cholesterol level. Exercise can be a good way to help boost your body's HDL or "good" cholesterol.
Poor diet. Your lifestyle can play a major factor in increasing your cholesterol levels. If your diet consists of saturated fat, which is found in animal products and trans fats that can be found in fast and junk food can raise your cholesterol level. Reducing your intake of red meat and full-fat dairy products can improve your cholesterol.
Obesity. Using our BMI calculator can help you gauge whether your weight is suitable for you or will put you at risk of spiking your cholesterol.
Smoking. This can damage the walls of your blood vessels. It can also decrease the good cholesterol that your body needs and increase the chance of cholesterol clinging to your arteries.
Other factors can be hereditary such as aging or diabetes. If you are looking to apply for life cover, or already have it, your cholesterol level will affect your premiums since it will be putting your health at risk. However, making a conscious decision to change your lifestyle habits can lead to a premium reduction.
Changes that you can apply
It is not all doom and gloom. Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol. You can do this by introducing heart-healthy changes such as eating a low salt diet, eating whole grains, reducing saturated, and trans fat, exercise frequently, drink alcohol in moderation, and eat more fruit and vegetables.