High cholesterol: NHS says avoiding binge drinking may help ‘reduce’ levels

Billy Connolly discusses his struggles with alcoholism

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The NHS says to lower levels try to cut down on alcohol. It is a good idea to avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, have several drink-free days each week, and avoid drinking lots of alcohol in a short time (binge drinking). The health body says: “Ask your GP for help and advice if you’re struggling to cut down.”

Drinkaware notes that the NHS defines binge drinking as “drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk”.

It states: “Because everybody is different, it is not easy to say exactly how many units in one session count as binge drinking.

“The definition used by the Office of National Statistics for binge drinking is having over eight units in a single session for men and over six units for women.”

It says: “If you’re worried about your drinking habits, contact your GP. They will be able to suggest ways to help you cut down your drinking, and can also refer you for counselling or support services.”

“The definition used by the Office of National Statistics for binge drinking is having over eight units in a single session for men and over six units for women.”

Heart UK says cutting down on alcohol can help you to lower your cholesterol levels.

“It can improve your heart health and help prevent heart disease in other ways too, by helping to look after your liver, your blood pressure, your weight and your waistline,” says the charity.

The organisation explains when you drink alcohol, it’s broken down and rebuilt into triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver. So, drinking alcohol raises the triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood.

It adds: “If your triglyceride levels become too high, they can build up in the liver, causing fatty liver disease.”

Heart UK adds: “The liver can’t work as well as it should and can’t remove cholesterol from your blood, so your cholesterol levels rise.

“Alcohol can lead to the combination of a high triglyceride level along with low HDL cholesterol. This can lead to heart disease.”

It says a unit of alcohol is roughly the amount your body can clear from your blood in one hour. It’s the equivalent of 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol.

“Different drinks contain different amounts of alcohol, as some are stronger than others,” it adds.

If you have been advised to make dietary changes, there are a number of things to consider and several general rules to follow.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada says: “As a rule of thumb, steer clear of highly processed foods, even if they are lower in fat content. Low-fat or diet foods are often loaded with calories, sodium and added sugar.”

It says that it is also a good idea to add more vegetarian options like beans, lentils, tofu and nuts to your weekly meal plans, and “get in the habit of filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit”.

There are two main types of fat, which are saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. The health body says most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommends all adults have a cholesterol check at any age, even if they feel completely well.

It should be repeated every five years – or more often if the test was abnormal.

The cholesterol blood test measures your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and your total cholesterol to HDL ratio.

Your total cholesterol should be 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults or 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk.

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