Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is found in the blood. It is mainly made in the body. Cholesterol plays an essential role in how every cell in the body works. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart problems. The preventive medication provided as part of the Polypill Prevention Programme helps to reduce your cholesterol.
Cholesterol is carried around the body by proteins. These combinations of cholesterol and proteins are called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins: LDL (low-density lipoprotein), a harmful type of cholesterol, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein), a protective type of cholesterol.
Having too much harmful cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of getting cardiovascular disease. The risk is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol.British Heart Foundation
The risk of coronary heart disease also rises as blood cholesterol levels increase. If other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and smoking, are present, the risk increases even more.National Health Service (NHS Direct)
One of the causes of high blood cholesterol levels among people in the UK is eating too much saturated fat. However, some people have high blood cholesterol even though they eat a healthy diet. For example, they may have inherited a condition called familial hyperlipidaemia (FH).
The amount of cholesterol present in the blood can range from 3.6 to 7.8 mmol/litre. A level above 6 mmol/litre is considered as high, and a risk factor for arterial disease. Government advice recommends a target cholesterol level of less than 5. However, in the UK, two in three adults have a total cholesterol level of 5 or above. In England, men, on average, have a level of 5.5, and women have a level of 5.6.
This graph shows that the lower a person's cholesterol, the lower the risk of dying of ischaemic heart disease. A reduction of about one third in a person's cholesterol can approximately halve the risk. The statin in the preventive medication provided as part of the Polypill Prevention Programme can achieve this reduction in cholesterol.
Above you can see that if you are 60, the preventive medication provided as part of the Polypill Prevention Programme can reduce your cholesterol to levels typical of a 20 year old.
Data referenced from our studies, please see this page »