High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease
Cholesterol, a naturally occuring substance in the body which is necessary for life. Many of the hormones in our body are made from cholesterol. Cholesterol is also important as a building block in cell membranes throughout the body. In fact, a certain amount of cholesterol is necessary for life. The problem with cholesterol is that sometimes contain too much of a good thing. When cholesterol levels are elevated, it increases our risk of blood vessel disease which can lead to heart attacks [heart attacks], strokes [strokes], aneurisms (abnormal weakening and dilatation of the arteries). These disorders account for nearly one half of all the deaths in the United States each year. Futhermore, when the small arteries that supply the heart with it's own blood flow become narrowed (coronary ateries) a person may experience chest pain which is known as angina [link to angina].
The buildup of cholesterol in medium and large sized arteries throughout the body is known as atherosclerosis. This disease is caused by many conditions known as risk factors.
fat like substance produced by your liver, is needed by your body to function properly. Cholesterol is also in many of the the foods you eat. Although cholesterol is very important for your body, too much cholesterol can clog coronary (heart) arteries which makes it hard for blood to flow correctly. If the artery becomes blocked entirely, blood stops flowing to the heart and this may cause a heart attack.
The components of total cholesterol are:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: the "bad" cholesterol
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: the "good" cholesterol
- Very Low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol
The reason for "bad" LDL cholesterol's nickname is its link with heart disease.
HDL cholesterol is "good" because it helps clear LDL cholesterol out of your arteries.
VLDL is critical to the transportation of fat to your body's cells.
Many studies have shown that high levels of LDL cholesterol increase your chance of heart attack and other heart diseases, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and angina (chest pain).
Furthermore, studies also show that every 1% reduction in serum cholesterol results in about a 2% reduction in the incidence of heart disease.