Milton Keynes man becomes face of new national campaign fronted by celebrity Davina McCall

A 33-year-old MK man who was shocked to find he had high cholesterol is the face of a new national campaign to raise awareness.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 3:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 3:53 pm

Kunal Gandhi was feeling “healthier than ever” when he went for a cholesterol check and was shocked when his reading came back as very high.

He said: “I regularly worked out using weights and made time to go on 3 to 4 runs a week. I was also very mindful of what I ate. In fact, at the time, I was actually eating healthier than ever, thanks to my wife.

“It wasn’t until I attended a routine blood test that I was told I had high cholesterol. The doctor even categorised me as ‘Very High Risk’ of heart disease. I was completely shocked, considering I was working out so regularly and watching my diet, I assumed I would not be a risk at all to high cholesterol."

Kunal Gandhi

Kunal is now the face of a national campaign to raise public awareness and address the nation’s cholesterol issues.

The campaign is being launched by cholesterol experts Benecol and fronted by well-known celebrity Davina McCall to raise awareness of high cholesterol and the fact that it really can affect anyone – no matter how outwardly fit and healthy they might appear.

It showcases real people who’ve struggled with their cholesterol, despite not fitting the public stereotype of ‘someone with high cholesterol’.

To help get his cholesterol back on track, Kuna, who is an operations manager,l is working out regularly and has reduced his fat intake.

“I have made a conscious effort to continue to exercise regularly, as this can play a key part in helping to lower your cholesterol. I have to walk a lot in my job and so this has helped with my exercise each day and losing weight.

“My wife is also trying to limit my fat intake (not the easiest of jobs considering I am a sucker for anything sweet), however I set myself a goal to get my cholesterol to a healthy level and I’m trying my best to get there.

“I have also been taking some medication – both prescribed and some supplements – that do claim to help lower my cholesterol levels”.

Research commissioned by Benecol revealed that more than a third (37%) of adults are unaware that high cholesterol carries no visible symptoms, and one in five adults (20%) believe regular exercise alone will prevent it.

It is recommended that healthy adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity e.g. brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week e.g. jogging or playing a sport. Adults should also include muscle strengthening activities on at least two days of the week e.g. lifting weights or gardening.

Cholesterol affects six in 10 adults in the UK and is a major risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease – one of the biggest causes of death in the UK. However, according to research, losing just 10% of your body weight will lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and your risk of diabetes.

So it’s not all bad news. Cholesterol is something we can – and should – do something about. Taking some simple preventative steps can minimise your risk of high cholesterol. And it’s something we should start to think about as early as possible. It’s not about making a huge lifestyle change but achievable, small switches that can make a big difference. For example, swapping butter for plant-based spreads and including more oily fish in your diet instead of meat.

If you’re worried about your cholesterol level, you can get a test from your local GP or Pharmacy.

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