More than half of the adults in Singapore have high cholesterol, according to the 2010 National Health Survey. Dr Lim Su Lin, chief dietitian at the National University Hospital, said having high cholesterol levels raises the risk of getting coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke. Each 1mmol/L of total cholesterol above the normal limit of 5.2 mmol/L is associated with a 35 per cent increased risk of death from a heart condition and a 25 per cent increased risk of ischaemic stroke, or a stroke due to blockage of blood vessels, said Dr Lim. In Singapore, nearly one out of three deaths is due to heart disease or stroke, she added.
While high cholesterol could be inherited, said Dr Lim, it is a fact that unhealthy diets and habits are passed on from generation to generation. “Some people grow up thinking that it is normal to eat you tiao, nasi lemak, roti prata and cakes for breakfast every day. Many people like to blame their high cholesterol levels on genetics because it absolves them from having to take responsibility for it,” she said.
But it is never too late to start doing something about it. She gives some tips on how to bring down cholesterol levels:
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline ‘10 tips to bring down cholesterol level‘.