High Cholesterol: Who is at Risk?
Major Controllable Risk Factor for Heart Disease
High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
High Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease
As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. If you have other risk factors (such as high blood pressure or diabetes) as well as high cholesterol, this risk increases even more. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing coronary heart disease. Also, the greater the level of each risk factor, the more that factor affects your overall risk.
High Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis
When too much LDL (bad) cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result.
Sources of Cholestrol
Cholesterol comes from two sources:
your body and
- Your liver and other cells in your body make about 75 percent of blood cholesterol.
- The other 25 percent comes from the foods you eat.
LDL or "Bad Cholesterol"
LDL or "bad cholesterol" is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to make too much.
Eating saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have. If high blood cholesterol runs in your family, lifestyle modifications may not be enough to help lower your LDL blood cholesterol. Everyone is different, so work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that's best for you.
Above content provided by The American Heart Association in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.