Cardiovascular Research Explains Link Between Cholesterol And Heart Disease

Cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis — a condition that greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke — by suppressing the activity of a key protein that protects the heart and blood vessels, researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have found.

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Cholesterol is important for body as it is used in the formation of cell membranes, hormones and other functions. But, too much cholesterol in the blood, called hypercholesterolemia, is a major risk factor of heart attack and stroke.

Low density lipo-protein (LDL) is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. Too much circulation of LDL cholesterol in the blood slowly builds up in the artery walls feeding your brain and heart. When cholesterol combines with other substances, it can form plaque, which is a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries. Therefore, it contributes to atherosclerosis.

Blood flow to the part of the heart muscle is blocked when a clot or thrombus is formed near the plaque and causes heart attack. If blood flow to the part of the brain is blocked by the clot, it results in a stroke.

Less blood flow to the heart muscle means less oxygen. Therefore, chest pain or angina occurs following an exercise or an excitement. When the blood supply is completely cut off, part of the heart muscle dies and results in heart attack. LDL cholesterol in high levels can result in increased risk of heart disease.

Reducing the risk of heart attacks:

You can lower your LDL cholesterol levels and improve the health of heart by making right food choices and eating a balanced diet. Balanced diet also reduces the risk factors of blood pressure and weight gain. [Lower Cholesterol Diet]

Reduce the intake of saturated fats which are present in dairy products and animal sources. Prefer lean meat, fish and poultry regularly. Regular physical activity also increases HDL (good) cholesterol in some of them. High HDL cholesterol levels are related to low risk of heart disease.

If you are at risk of developing heart attacks, you can take medications such as statin to lower your cholesterol levels. Your doctor advices you whether the medication is appropriate for you or not. If the medicine is suitable for you, you can see the improvement in your health. [Medications to Lower Cholesterol Level]