Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death in Ireland, accounting for 36% of all deaths and 22% of deaths in those aged under 65. Having an excessively high level of lipids/cholesterol in your blood (hyperlipidemia) can have a serious effect on your health as it increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is recommended that total cholesterol levels should be less than 5 mmol/L.
The cholesterol test involves taking a small sample of blood (one large drop) from the fingertip which is then put into a machine which measures the cholesterol level within a few minutes. Your Pharmacist or GP will let you know your cholesterol test level and tell you what, if any, further action should be taken.
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of CVD is to keep cholesterol level in your blood at a healthy level. You should try to avoid or cut down on the following foods, which are rich in saturated fat:
- fatty cuts of meat and meat products, such as sausages and pies
- butter, ghee and lard
- cream, soured cream, creme fraiche and ice cream
- cheese, particularly hard cheese
- cakes and biscuits
- coconut oil, coconut cream and palm oil
It is recommended that the average man should have no more than 30g saturated fat a day and the average woman should have no more than 20g saturated fat a day. To get an idea how much saturated food you are consuming, take a look at the food labels of the foods you are eating.