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1st of 2 parts discussing Cholesterol - this week - types - treatment - medication

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Cholesterol Part 1


Cholesterol is a lipid (fat).  It is manufactured by the liver from the fatty foods, and help maintain many body functions.


Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. The three main types are:

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) often known as bad cholesterol and is thought to promote arterial disease.  Recommended LDL level is below 3.37 mmol/l
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL).  This is often referred to as 'good cholesterol', and is thought to prevent arterial disease.  Recommended LDL range is 1.45 - 4 mmol/l
  • Triglycerides are another type of fatty substance present in the blood.  They are found in dairy products, meat, and cooking oils.  Those who are overweight, have a diet that is high in fatty or sugary foods, or drink a large amount of alcohol, have an increased risk of having a high triglyceride level. Recommended Triglyceride level is below 1.71 mmol/l

A total Cholesterol level of below 5.2 mmol/litre is recommended to prevent heart disease.

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol levels can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attacks, and strokes. 


If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol the first method of treatment will usually involve making some changes to your diet (adopting a low-fat diet) and ensuring that you take plenty of regular exercise.  After a few months, if your cholesterol level has not dropped, you will usually be advised to take cholesterol lowering medication. 


Statins are the most popular medication used to lower cholesterol because of their effectiveness. Statins available on the market and their brand names are:

  • Atorvastatin       (i.e.) Lipitor®
  • Pravastatin        (i.e.) Lipostat®
  • Rosuvastatin     (i.e.) Crestor®
  • Simvastatin       (i.e.) Zocor®


All statins have generic equivalents available. Statins work by blocking the enzyme that helps produce cholesterol in the liver. Most statins must be taken at night, as most cholesterol is made while we sleep. Unlike other statins, atorvastatin can be taken morning or night.


Cholesterol check at Whelehans

Heart Screening Service at Whelehans Pharmacy Pearse St includes a cholesterol check. Only takes a few minutes with instant results.


Heart Screening Prices:

Cholesterol Check: €20; Diabetes Check: €10; Haemoglobin Check: €10; Blood Pressure Check: €5

Full Heart Screening (all four tests): €40 when you book online.(Save €5)


Next week…. I discuss statins in more detail


Disclaimer: Our Heart Screening is not an alternative to full health check with your GP


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Email queries to Find us on Facebook


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