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High cholesterol: Six warning signs you’re heading for a stroke or heart attack

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If too much cholesterol then blocks the blood vessel passageway, then oxygen and nutrients in the blood won’t be able to reach the heart, causing a heart attack. Should blood flow to the brain be cut off too (by too much cholesterol), then a stroke occurs. Before either of these tragic events take place, there may be warning signs of atherosclerosis.

LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” because in excess it can form plaques that embed on blood vessel walls and cause blood passageways to narrow.

Blood tests can reveal total cholesterol levels, as well as how much “bad” cholesterol there is.

Certain lifestyle choices increase “bad” cholesterol levels, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Being overweight or obese
  • An unhealthy diet full of saturated fats

The BHF said: “Atherosclerosis is common. It’s more common in people over 65 and those with a family history of heart or circulatory diseases.”

Lifestyle interventions

Eating healthy involves a “well-balanced diet”:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Wholegrain varieties of bread, rice, and pasta
  • “Some” milk and dairy products
  • “Some” meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-diary sources of protein
  • Only a small amount of foods high in fat and/or sugar

Eating healthily also means including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

“Try to vary the types of fruit and veg you eat,” advised the BHF. In addition, people should refrain from consuming too much salt.

Salt consumption can increase blood pressure readings, which can inadvertently promote heart disease that leads to a heart attack.

As for alcohol moderation, it’s important not to drink more than 14 units weekly for any occasion.

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