High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat produced by the liver. There are two main types of cholesterol, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but if you have too much ‘bad’ cholesterol, it can build up and increase your risk of developing heart conditions.

Disclaimer: This guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you are experiencing an emergency, go to your nearest hospital or call 000.

What is it?

Cholesterol is a type of fat crucial for hormone production, cell building, and various metabolic functions. It is produced by the liver and also obtained through the diet. While essential for maintaining healthy cells, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can result in fatty deposits in blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: Known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, high levels can cause plaque buildup in arteries, leading to narrowing and hardening.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol: Referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol, it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood.

In Australia, one-third of adults have high cholesterol, which can be caused by factors such as a diet high in saturated fats and sugars, obesity, lack of exercise, aging, smoking, and family history. High cholesterol often has no symptoms, so regular testing is important.

To manage cholesterol, lifestyle changes like improving diet and increasing physical activity are crucial, and medication may be needed in some cases. See your doctor to get advice on managing high cholesterol.

Lowering cholesterol

If your LDL (bad) cholesterol is high, several strategies can help reduce it:

Healthy Eating Patterns:

  • Reduce saturated fat intake from foods.
  • Use healthy fats like those from nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and their oils for cooking.
  • Incorporate high-fibre foods.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Flavour food with herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Choose healthy protein sources such as fish, seafood, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts, and seeds.

Physical Activity:

  • Increase physical activity to raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
  • Engage in aerobic or cardio exercises and resistance training.

Lifestyle Modifications:

  • Quit smoking to reduces heart disease risk and help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol offers no health benefits and adds unnecessary calories.


  • If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medication.

Discuss with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.


High cholesterol typically doesn’t present obvious symptoms, but it significantly increases the risk of serious health issues if not managed. Therefore, regular blood tests and check-ups are essential.

For those aged 45 and older (or 30 and older if you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander), it’s important to speak to your doctor about a cholesterol test, especially if you have a family history.

Types of cholesterol

How we can help

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Much like a traditional appointment your telehealth doctor will conduct a comprehensive assessment, including:

  • pre-existing conditions, family history & lifestyle.
  • preferred treatments and ability to access them.
  • individualised advice to treat your condition.
  • referrals or scripts at the discretion of the doctor.

Why choose doctors on demand?

Talk to a doctor about high cholesterol.

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