Cholesterol and Heart Disease


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Cholesterol and Heart Disease

For many, the word cholesterol is nothing more than a bad medical term. We know that we are supposed to lower our cholesterol, and we even know that it depends on what we eat, but many people do not know the risks associated with high cholesterol and why it is important to prevent high cholesterol. Simply put, if you have high cholesterol, you put yourself at a high risk for having a heart attack. Heart attacks are devastating, especially when they come as a surprise, and many people who experience a heart attack never recover. Therefore, it is important to know how and why high cholesterol affects the health of your heart.

The heart pumps blood through our bodies, and blood can be seen as a carrier system for the body. Every day, the blood makes its rounds, picking up things at one organ and dropping off oxygen from the lungs and nutrients from the food we eat. Cholesterol is one such nutrient, and it is one of the lipids, or fats found in the body. The body is capable of making enough cholesterol itself, but we eat saturated fats and so these are put into the blood stream. The cholesterol from the saturated fat is used in the production of certain hormones and to build cell walls, so we do need small amounts in the body, but most people eat entirely too much, and so there is a large about of extra lipids in the body.

Lipoproteins carry the cholesterol through the blood stream. HDL cholesterol is good for the body, and this lipoprotein is found in small amounts. When measuring your cholesterol at a doctor’s office, however, what people are concerned with is the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. If there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these little carriers start bumping into one another and against the blood vessel walls.

They often get stuck to the walls, and over time a thick layer of cholesterol builds up. When too much builds up, and there is already a high number of lipoproteins in the blood stream, it is difficult for the blood to pass through in order to reach the heart. The heart must work extra hard to pump the blood, and is stressed. You may then have a heart attack.

Heart attacks require surgery in most case and extensive time in the hospital. You can prevent this by simply eating healthier foods and exercising more regularly. When you keep your heart healthy, your entire life will be healthier, so learn all you can about cholesterol levels and how to keep them down.



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