High cholesterol levels and 26 yrs old

I am 26 years old, never smoked, rarely drink (a glass of wine maybe 3-4 times a year) with no family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high b/p. My blood pressure is perfect and although I am overweight, I have been slowly losing it and eating a low fat, healthy diet for about a year now. Despite dietary changes, my cholesterol remains at 7.2 and my GP is puzzled. I do cardio at the gym once or twice a week too. I have been working really hard to ensure I am as healthy as possible, so not sure why I have elevated cholesterol. The only factor is that I have rheumatoid arthritis and I know it can affect the heart but usually not in this way.

Any thoughts on my situation would be much appreciated. Thank you.

14 Replies

  • Thank you. Nope, no family history. My GP suggested that it's just part of my genetic make up and suggested that I consider statins.

  • I just got a diet sheet and I do make an effort to follow it. Thanks for the helpline number, will give them a ring.

    I'm considering paying to see a dietitian as a last ditch attempt.

  • Hi Crashdoll

    Sorry to hear about your health problems. There is a RA site on HU, if you have not found it already.


    High cholesterol may be a result of the inflammation your body is experiencing from your RA. Apart from eating low fat, it would be a good idea to cut out as much sugar as you can from your diet. Some low fat foods like yoghurt can be full of sugar. Hopefully Heart Uk will help with diet advice.

    RA appears to be an autoimmune disorder. You might find it helpful to research a gluten free diet, as some people find that this can alleviate symptoms. Sometimes going dairy free may also help. (although if you have had RA for some time, I guess you may have explored these options). This is one site with some interesting views on dealing with RA and inflammation


    Good luck sorting out all your health issues.

  • Thanks for your reply. I use the HU RA forum and find it very supportive. My inflammatory levels are actually stable, so I hope it's not inflammation.

    I have tried gluten free but perhaps not for long enough. I think I need to explore it again.

  • There are many reasons for high cholesterol. Dietician, NHS or private not now wait for a while! This is because what you get is very old data. Start by writing down a daily food intake sheet, when you read the data the next day, you will ask yourself the question did I eat that!!, this will help you to control the food intake. NHS, Food plate there are changes taking place therefore wait before you spend your money on a dietician. On this (eating a low fat, healthy diet ) what are you eating?

    Exercise, if you can do exercise for more than 20 minutes each day. My journey started three years ago slowly I am getting there.

    The above is from my own experience.

    Remember food intake control.

    Good Luck.

  • Thank you. Exercise is not easy because of my rheumatoid arthritis. I do as much as I can but my joints are quite damaged and I'm unsteady, so I'm no athlete although I do go to the gym. :)

  • Some of the replies you've received make good sense. My wife has RA but manages it very well. She's gone gluten free insofar as she even bakes her own bread and buns with flour she makes from linseeds reduced in a coffee grinder! I've tasted buns she's made from almond flour with cranberries in and her latest bake has been mince pies which are delicious too! We also make our own yoghurt using Easiyo low fat greek style yoghurt (you need the kit for this) and she drinks mostly Alpro, although I make a nice cup of coffee (de-caff with semi-skimmed milk) which she enjoys occasionally. We have a glass of red wine about once a week too and an occasional light beer. Also we filter our water for green tea and general drinking. We enjoy walking and cycling (weather permitting) and some gentle Tai Chi.

    All this doesn't mean that we avoid fat completely for we eat some cheese, butter and have an occasional fillet steak, but the approach to adopt is moderation in all things - it's not all salads! What I'm trying to say is that this didn't just happen with us, we researched on the internet and read up on other people's experience to find something which we have found to be beneficial in managing our weight and our bad cholesterol and it seems to be working for us.

    Other recommendations are porridge (porage), shredded wheat, honey and avoiding too much processed or fried foods, and, NO takeaways (well maybe once in a while)!

    All the best with you endeavours.

  • What is actually the point at lowering your cholesterol? In other countries like Japan you level is totally acceptable. Do you have the make up of your Total Cholesterol; i.e. LDH, HDH

  • My GP told me I need to lower it, so I assumed I should. I will get a print out of my results next week.

  • Agree, why do we need to lower cholesterol? The person who ask the question do need to come back with comments to daily reply!

    Understanding of cholesterol and cholesterol numbers are very important before thinking of working on reducing cholesterol.

    Again understanding the three numbers are also very important. Have to look at the total picture.

  • Sorry for not coming back sooner, I have been quite ill with gastroenteritis. I'm going to ask for a print out of my blood test results next week.

  • Around 80% of people have cholesterol that is unaffected by diet. You may be in the 20%. I would take the trouble to find out if you are Type A or Type B LDL cholesterol, this is far more important than the simplistic cholesterol readings you get from your doc'

  • Thank you, I will ask.

  • What was the reason for the blood test?

    Did you GP give you an assessment of your general health?

    Please make an appointment to see your GP to get a better understanding of you cholesterol numbers and if necessary go for other tests.

You may also like...