Cholesterol is a necessary, naturally occurring substance within the body. However, having too much cholesterol can be bad for you as it increases your risk of developing certain serious medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, mini-strokes or blood clots.
The amount of cholesterol in the body can be measured using a blood test and should be less than 5mmol/L. Higher levels can be caused by a poor diet rich in saturated fat, smoking, or genetic factors such as a family history of stroke or heart disease. You can change your diet in order to lower your levels, focusing on healthy, low fat foods, give up smoking and exercise more. Doctors can also prescribe medication which can help to lower levels of harmful cholesterol in the body