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How high cholesterol affects your health: learn the facts

Updated on July 12, 2013

High cholesterol and heart disease

Cholesterol in your body

Cholesterol is an oily substance created by the liver and exists in certain foods that you eat. Cholesterol is important for the body to function normal. Cholesterol is needed for the body to build cell walls, create vitamin D, and maintain hormonal function. Your body needs some cholesterol to function, but too much can be harmful to your health. High cholesterol could lead to heart disease and deterioration of your health.

Too much cholesterol can build up in your blood and cause a narrowing of your arteries, leading to heart disease and possibly death. The problem is that not that many individuals have the resources to understand the functioning and effects that cholesterol can have on their bodies and heart disease. This is a comprehensive view of what you need to know to educate yourself on cholesterol and to promote a healthier lifestyle.

High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease

High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease. There are different types of cholesterol that play an important role in your health. Not all cholesterol is bad, and knowing which one can help or harm, will help you control it better. Here is a list of the three types of cholesterols that are important for your health:

  1. LDL or low-density lipoprotein- This type of cholesterol is commonly known as the bad cholesterol that can compromise your health, if not controlled. This type of cholesterol leaves residue of fat in the walls of the arteries also known as plaque on the walls. This will reduce the normal flow of blood and oxygen, putting strain on the body that could lead to complication of your health.
  2. HDL or high-density lipoprotein- This type of cholesterol is commonly known as the good cholesterol that can help your body and improve your health. It is considered good cholesterol because it helps flush the fatty substances away from your arteries and out of your body. If the cholesterol is being removed, then the risk for heart disease decreases.
  3. Triglycerides- This is another type of cholesterol that exists which stores unused calories into fat cells. A high level of triglycerides can narrow the arteries which affects the body the same as LDL, or bad cholesterol.

Your cholesterol number can link to high cholesterol and heart disease

Your cholesterol number plays an important part in your overall health. A desirable cholesterol level is under 200. If you have a cholesterol level that is higher than 200, this means you are at a higher risk for heart disease and an increased chance for heart conditions. More than half of American adults have a high cholesterol and take little action to control it. High cholesterol may produce plaque in the arteries leading to heart disease and may lead to an early death if not controlled.

The plaque in the arteries will narrow the arteries diameter, reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to your body. The heart will be forced to work harder, producing a strain on the heart and weaken the heart completely. Most heart disease and high cholesterol can be prevented and can be controlled. Knowing if you have high cholesterol levels and a heart disease is the first step to preventing heart disease complications. Taking the right measures to control your cholesterol will help you increase you life and decrease your chances of heart disease in the future.

High cholesterol and heart disease

Anyone can have high cholesterol. This is not a disease that only happens to a small targeted group. The truth is that high cholesterol can happen to many types of people, young and mature. High cholesterol can affect all types of individuals, small or large, thin or overweight, and is not isolated to one type of person. There are many individuals who suffer with high cholesterol and heart disease, even though they eat healthy and exercise. There are three main reasons for high cholesterol and heart disease:

  1. Lifestyle choices- diet and exercise alone can affect your chances of getting high cholesterol. The saying "You are what you eat" is true. If the foods you eat are too high in fat and have high cholesterol, your body will have to work harder to break it down. Without an exercise routine in place, the excess calories and fat will be stored in the body, creating an increase of fat in the body which leads to heart disease.
  2. Genetic factors- Sometimes, diet and exercise are not enough to lower cholesterol. Your family history of high cholesterol could have been inherited, just like heart disease could be hereditary. Knowing your family's medical history is important and will give you a better idea of what measures need to taken before it becomes a health concern.
  3. Health disease and heart problems- There are many health factors that can cause high cholesterol and heart disease. Two are diabetes and heart disease. If you have a health condition or existing heart disease, ask your doctor for more information on how it could cause high cholesterol levels.

How your doctor can help high cholesterol

High cholesterol does not have to affect your health. There are many steps you can take to reduce your risks for heart disease and high cholesterol. The first step to regaining and controlling your health is to make an appointment with your doctor and check your cholesterol levels. Once you know what the levels are, you will have a better understanding of the risk factors that may exist in the future with high cholesterol and heart disease.

Even if your cholesterol is normal, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle that will continue in the future and keep your cholesterol normal and prevent heart disease. You can never be too young or too old to be checked for cholesterol. After all, one simple test can help you improve your life, your well-being, and allow you to live your life even better than before.

Take care of your health before it controls you. Knowing what needs to be prevented could be the best defense for your health.


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      Praveen 3 years ago

      What if I do all of these thing. I am the right weight, I exsircee regularly, I have a very healthy diet, I have low blood pressure, normal blood sugar levels and I don't smoke but I have high chlorestterol (around 200-210.) I am 53 years old.What should I do.? Would you advise taking chlosterol low medication? Thanks for any advise.Kathy

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      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Good think I'm reading this now and I'm only 20 years old (lol). I knew that genetic factors and lifestyle choices definitely played a roll in cholesterol-related problems, but I really didn't have much of an idea on how severe those factors can come into play. Thank you again for another great hub! I voted up.

    • BarryCross profile image

      Barry Cross 5 years ago from York, UK

      Great Hub! One thing I find with my clients is that because cholesterol is not something they can visually see they tend to not worry about it until its too late. More awareness is what is needed.

      Voted up, useful and socially shared with my weight loss Twitter account followers. Cheers Barry :)