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Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Having high cholesterol puts you at an increased risk for developing coronary heart disease. High cholesterol then combined with other risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, then your risk of heart disease increases even more. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that hardens and sticks to the artery walls, causing them to narrow and result in a condition known as atherosclerosis. Clots can then form, further blocking the narrowed arteries, and causing a heart attack when blood can no longer pass through the narrowed arteries to supply oxygen to the heart muscle. LDL is the main source of artery-clogging plaque whereas HDL works to clear cholesterol from the blood. Triglycerides are another fat in our bloodstream that has been known to cause heart disease. High cholesterol does not cause any symptoms; and so many people are unaware that their cholesterol levels. Lowering cholesterol levels lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease.

To reduce your risk for heart disease or keep it low, it is very important to:

  • Control other risk factors you may have, such as high blood pressure.
  • Follow a low saturated fat, low cholesterol eating plan
  • Maintain a desirable weight.
  • Participate in regular physical activity.
  • Begin medication therapy as directed by the doctor.
  • Quit smoking

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