How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

1 in 2 Australians over 25 have high cholesterol.

That’s right. High cholesterol affects 50% of Australians over 25, and even if you feel okay you can still have high cholesterol.

If left untreated high cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease as it is sometimes known, is the leading cause of sudden death in Australia.

High levels of LDL-cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, heart attack stroke.

Who should talk to their doctor about having a cholesterol test?

High cholesterol can affect anyone of us, even those who are relatively young and look and feel fit. So it’s not a bad idea to talk to your doctor about cholesterol as part of your regular check-up.

However, if any of the following apply to you, it’s particularly important to talk to your doctor about a blood cholesterol:

  • Are you a smoker?
  • Exercise less than 15 minutes weekly?
  • Eat less than 1 serve of fruit daily?
  • Eat less than 3 serves of vegetables daily?
  • Standard alcoholic drinks daily: more than 4 (male) or more than 2 (female)?
  • High blood pressure (BP)?
  • Overweight?
  • Diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Family history of heart disease or diabetes?
  • High cholesterol levels?

REMEMBER, if you are in any doubt at all about whether cholesterol is an issue for you, make sure you talk to your doctor.


1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Heart, stroke and vascular diseases. Australian facts 2004. CVD Series No.22, May 2004.

3. Lipid Management Guidelines, MJA 175, 5 November 2001

11. Australian Institute of Health And Welfare: O’Brien K 2005. Living Dangerously: Australians with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Bulletin No. 24. AIHW Cat. No. AUS 57. Canberra: AIHW.

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