Free cholesterol checks at Matt O'Flaherty, William Street

This week Matt O’Flaherty Chemists, William Street, is offering customers a free cholesterol screening. An increase in heart disease is a growing concern with many customers, and this event is an action to support those who wish to modify their lifestyle, by allowing them to understand how to get in control of their cholesterol levels.

The pharmacists will also be giving information on Armolipid, a food supplement which contains red yeast rice, folic acid, coenzyme Q10, and Astaxantin. Armolipid is the latest cholesterol lowering food supplement available in Ireland without prescription. A month's supply retail at €19.85.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is essential for your body to function day to day. A certain amount of cholesterol is healthy as it forms part of the cell walls and is also necessary to make hormones. There are two main types of cholesterol – LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is beneficial to the body. However, if there is too much LDL cholesterol it can be deposited along the walls of arteries, forming atheroma (fatty material ) and cause blood vessels to become narrowed or blocked. Over time, a gradual build-up of atheroma can narrow the arteries that supply the heart with blood. This process is called atherosclerosis and may eventually cause symptoms of angina or result in a heart attack or stroke. One cause of high LDL cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fat.

Fat in foods

A small portion of fat is needed in our diet, but fat is considered to be less healthy than other nutrients as it can raise our blood cholesterol, increase our risk to heart disease, and is high in calories which can lead to weight gain. Some fats are healthier than others. There are three main types of fat in food: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat can increase our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats is an important dietary change to reduce cholesterol levels. You should avoid saturated fats wherever possible as these can raise your blood cholesterol level.

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