High Cholesterol 

Not all cholesterol is bad – knowing the difference between LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“high” cholesterol) can go a long way in helping you achieve good cholesterol management, lowering your risk of heart disease. 

What is high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is produced by the liver and is found in certain foods. It is necessary for the body to function properly for digestion, synthesis of hormones and vitamin D. High cholesterol is as its name states – a condition in which there are high levels of cholesterol in the body. Having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. 

According to the National Health Survey conducted in 2019-2020, about 39.1% of Singaporeans have high cholesterol levels. 

There are two types of cholesterol: 

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – often referred to as "bad" cholesterol because it can lead to the build up of fats in the walls of arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – often referred to as "good" cholesterol because it helps to remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream.

What causes high cholesterol?

High cholesterol is caused by a myriad of factors (sometimes a combination), including; 
Health Conditions

What are the symptomS
of high cholesterol?

In most cases, high cholesterol does not cause any symptoms. This is why it is often referred to as a "silent" condition. Most people discover that they have high cholesterol only after a blood test reveals their cholesterol levels are high. That is why it is essential to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly, especially if you have risk factors for heart disease.

With that said, as high cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, some individuals may experience; 
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Numbness or paralysis in the face, arms or legs 
  • Sudden vision changes 
  • Difficulty speaking 
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache 
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. 

How common is high cholesterol in Singapore?

Cholesterol in mmol/L (mg/dl)

Average Adult
(without known coronary risk factors)

Adult with heart disease/diabetes
/other coronary risk factors

LDL Cholesterol

< 3.4 (130)

< 2.6 (100)

HDL Cholesterol

≥ 1.0 (40)

≥ 1.0 (40)

Total Cholesterol

< 5.2 (200)

< 4.1 (160)

How is high cholesterol diagnosed in Singapore?

High cholesterol is diagnosed through a blood test called a lipid profile or lipid panel. 

This test measures several types of fat or lipid molecules in your blood, including 

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

During the test, a healthcare provider will draw blood from a vein in your arm using a small needle. The blood sample will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. You may be required to fast for 9-12 hours before the test – fasting helps ensure test results are accurate. 

At LMC, besides carrying out the necessary blood tests, we also look at other factors that may be contributing to poor health. These include carrying out comprehensive medical reviews, biometric analyses, cardiovascular risk assessments and more. 

How is high cholesterol treated?

Treatment of high cholesterol hinges on lowering your overall cholesterol levels. This is done through;

Lifestyle changes

Eat healthily, maintain a healthy weight, increase physical activity, quit smoking, manage stress, drink alcohol in moderation

Combination therapy

Combination therapy is not uncommon; you should not neglect adhering to lifestyle changes even on medication


Medications might be prescribed if your cholesterol levels do not go down despite making lifestyle changes based on your risk factors

At LMC, we take a holistic approach and treat not just your cholesterol levels but overall wellbeing – this includes looking at your diet, physical activity, heart health and more through the guidance of a health coach. 

Through our coaching programs, you get access to: 

Evidence-based health coaching

Individualised management plan

Coordination and scheduling of specialist referrals

Personalised program tailored to your unique goals and preferences 

Your health matters to us. Contact us to find out more. 

high cholesterol


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