Why High Blood Cholesterol is Dangerous
What is cholesterol?
like fat, cannot move around the bloodstream on its own
because it does not mix with water. The bloodstream carries
cholesterol in particles called lipoproteins that are like
blood-borne cargo trucks delivering cholesterol to various
body tissues to be used, stored or excreted.
But too much of this circulating cholesterol can injure
arteries, especially the coronary ones that supply the
heart. This leads to accumulation of cholesterol-laden
“plaque” in vessel linings, a condition called
When blood flow to the heart is impeded, the heart muscle
becomes starved for oxygen, causing chest pain (angina). If
a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery affected
by atherosclerosis, a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
or death can occur.
Are you at risk? Cardiovascular disease is still one of the
greatest health problem affecting western countries.
According to the American Heart Foundation, over 70 million
Americans have cardiovascular disease (CVD). The national
cost of is nearly $400 billion and every 45 seconds an
American has a stoke.
Certain risk factors increase your chances of developing
Many people have multiple risk factors for heart disease and
the level of risk increases with the number of risk factors.
By reducing these risk factors you can largely prevent the
onset of cardiovascular disease. On its own elevated blood
cholesterol is not necessarily a problem, but coupled with
one or more other risk factors for heart disease, it is
often the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
It is, therefore, very important to know what your
cholesterol levels are and to keep them at a healthy level
before you have any problems.
High risk cholesterol
If your total cholesterol level is 240 or more, it's
definitely high. You have a higher risk of heart attack and
stroke. In fact, you should have your LDL and HDL
cholesterol tested. Ask your doctor for advice. Close to 20
percent of the U.S. population has high blood cholesterol
Borderline-high risk cholesterol
People whose total cholesterol is 200 to 239 mg/dL have
borderline-high cholesterol. About a third of American
adults are in this group, while almost half of adults have
total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL. In fact, people
who have a total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL have twice the
risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol
level is 200 mg/dL. Does physical activity affect
Other factors that affect blood cholesterol levels:
Heredity – High cholesterol often runs in families.
Even though specific genetic causes have been identified in
only a minority of cases, genes still play a role in
influencing blood cholesterol levels. If your parents have
high cholesterol, you need to be tested to see if your
cholesterol levels are also elevated.
Age and gender – Before menopause, women tend to have
total cholesterol levels lower than men at the same age.
Cholesterol levels naturally rise as men and women age.
Menopause is often associated with increases in LDL
cholesterol in women.
Stress – Studies have not shown stress to be directly
inked to cholesterol levels. But experts say that because
people sometimes eat fatty foods to console themselves when
under stress, this can cause higher blood cholesterol.
Excess weight – Being overweight tends to increase
blood cholesterol levels. Losing weight has been shown to
help lower levels. A greater risk of increased cholesterol
levels occurs when that extra weight is centred in the
abdominal region, as opposed to the legs or buttocks.
Source: Adapted From Herbalife Today Magazine