Why have i been sent this information

You are receiving this information because you recently had a blood test to measure your cholesterol. As part of this process, we have then performed a risk assessment to help us gather information on your risk of developing cardiovascular disease – this includes things like heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease (issues with the blood vessels).

However, cholesterol is only one part of this risk and we have used other factors to calculate this risk. Some of these are things we cannot change, and some things we can change!

  1. Age, gender, Ethnicity
  2. High blood pressure, cholesterol level, body mass index (Height and weight)
  3. Smoking, alcohol intake
  4. Medical conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease
  5. A strong family history of heart disease (in relatives under the age of 60)


Whenever we run this calculation, it will never be zero – and as we get older however hard we work on the other risk factors, the risk level will increase.  The number given will be a number out of 100 (this is the highest) and indicates what your risk of developing cardiovascular disease will be in the next 10 years. The number given to you will put you into one of the following categories.

Low risk - less than 10%

This meams you have less than a one in 10 chance of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years

Moderate risk - 10 - 20%

This means out of 10 people with this risk, 1-2 of these people would develop cardiovascular disease

High risk - More than 20%

This means out of 10 people with this risk, more than 2 of these people would develop cardiovascular disease

How can I lower my risk?

Cholesterol is one part of lowering your risk. Alongside this, there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can do to reduce this risk. 

This includes:

  1. Stop Smoking – You can speak to one of our in practice stop smoking advisors or approach your local pharmacy.
  2. Eat a well balance diet – A low fat, high fiber diet including 5 portions of vegetables at day. 
  3. Reduce alcohol intake – aim for less than 14 units per week
  4. Keep a healthy weight – Aiming for a body mass index between 20 – 25
  5. Increase your activity level – small changes that become normal habits for you. 
  6. Control your blood pressure – alongside the things above, you may require medication for this. 

Almost everybody will benefit from these changes , even if your risk is low. One option would be to implement these lifestyle changes, and then recheck your cholesterol in 6 – 12 months at which point we can recalculate your risk. 

Medication to lower cholesterol

There are a number of medications that can help to lower your cholesterol. Overall, these are recommended if your risk is above 10%. 

Statins are one group of these medications and work by lowering your cholesterol and therefore lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease. They are taken once a day and on the whole have very few side-effects. 

You can use your QRISK number to see how much benefit you would get (and the risk of side-effects) from taking a statin by clicking here.

This information is designed to be the start of a conversation about your heart health. If you have more questions, or would like to discuss starting a statin please make a routine appointment with a clinician to do this. 

If you would rather watch and listen, or wouldlike  more detail – we would recommend you watch this video. 

Play Video