You can’t see it and there are no obvious symptoms, yet elevated cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, and it affects millions. To support Heart Month, Flora ProActiv and HEART UK disrupted journeys on the London Underground. We made the invisible visible – using people dressed as cholesterol to illustrate elevated cholesterol in arteries, whilst making a parallel with the underground, the arteries of the city. The aim was to encourage commuters to find out more about their cholesterol levels – and it certainly had an impact.

Imagine the London Underground as the arteries of the city, through which the capital’s commuting energy flows. The cumbersome men in yellow suits aren’t going to help that journey, are they? Now think of your arteries pumping blood around the body to your heart and your cholesterol level. Do you know your cholesterol level is?

Elevated cholesterol is a major risk factor of Coronary Heart Disease. This is why it is important to know whether your cholesterol levels are raised and if so, what you can do about it.

Whilst 56% of people in England have elevated cholesterol*, hardly any of those see cholesterol as a problem. That’s partly because you can’t tell by looking at someone if that person has elevated cholesterol – it usually doesn’t have any symptoms.

All of this goes some way to explain why we sent those overblown yellow men to the London Underground. We wanted to provoke a response and encourage people to take a simple test to get their cholesterol levels checked. In partnership with HEART UK, we want to raise awareness of the importance of cholesterol and show you how just a few simple changes can make a big difference.

By adopting a healthy lifestyle, following a balanced diet and eating Flora ProActiv, containing plant sterols, you can really help lower your cholesterol**. And with just 1.5–2.4g of plant sterols consumed daily, you could see your cholesterol drop by 7-10% in only 2–3 weeks.

So come on, what are you waiting for? Click below to watch the video that might provoke you to take action around their cholesterol levels. It’s time to get checked and, if your cholesterol is raised, do something about it. We don’t want to send our team of yellow men out to provoke you into action!

A screening test for cholesterol levels can be taken using a small drop of blood from the finger. It is both painless and quick, with results usually available there and then. It is important to get cholesterol levels checked by a properly trained professional rather than trying it yourself. It’s very easy to get levels wrong and we wouldn’t recommend any home testing tests, which can often give wrong and misleading results. There are two main ways to get your cholesterol levels checked:

  1. The first quick way is to visit a high street pharmacist. Many high street pharmacists will offer a cholesterol check at a modest cost and it can be done there and then, usually without an appointment.
  2. The second way is at an NHS Health Check. The majority of adults over 40 will be invited every 5 years for an NHS Health Check by their GP. Depending on where you live, you could even get an NHS Health Check done in a mobile unit, in a supermarket or even at a tennis or football club. To check where else you can get an NHS Health Check visit the NHS Health Check website here.

* According to the Health Survey for England 2011.