This service involves taking a small finger prick of blood and testing a patient’s cholesterol level. The results are available within a few minutes. The pharmacist can then offer advice if it is needed on how to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce the reading if it is high. A charge may apply.
What is it?
Cholesterol is a fat (or lipid) that is carried around our body in the blood. It is mainly made by the liver but can also be found in some foods we eat.
At an NHS Health Check, your cholesterol will be tested to see whether it is too high. Your health professional will take a sample of by pricking your finger.
Why your cholesterol level matters
It is vital that we have enough cholesterol if our bodies are to work properly. But too much cholesterol can cause our arteries to become blocked, which increases our risk of heart disease and stroke.
Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of vascular diseases, including:
- narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- heart attack
- mini-stroke (TIA)
This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the flow of blood to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the chance of a blood clot developing somewhere.
Your risk of coronary heart disease (when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or disrupted) also rises as your blood’s cholesterol level increases and this can cause angina during physical activity.
High cholesterol itself doesn’t cause any symptoms. This means that you could have high cholesterol and not know about it.
The only way to know your cholesterol level is to have it tested.
A great source for futher information on cholesterol and how you can understand ways to manage the risk and live with the condition can be found at http://heartuk.org.uk/