Revised: 11/03/09. Copyright © 2006 Clinical Research Associates of Tidewater. All rights reserved.
According to current estimates, 71.3 million people in America have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Coronary heart disease is caused by arteriosclerosis —the thickening or hardening of the coronary arteries. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease - America's #1 killer.
Cholesterol can be both good and bad
Why is LDL cholesterol “bad”?
When there is too much LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the blood, it can build up in the walls of the arteries. Together, with other substances, it can form a thick, hard deposit called plaque. This plaque buildup can block the opening of the arteries, causing the space for the blood to flow smoothly to become too narrow. If a clot forms and cannot pass through these narrowed arteries, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.Why is HDL cholesterol "good"?
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol carries about one-third to one-fourth of the cholesterol in the blood. It’s considered “good” because a high level of it seems to protect against heart attack. It’s believed that HDL cholesterol carries “bad” cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it’s passed from the body.What are Triglycerides?
Triglyceride is a form of fat. It comes from the food you eat and it is also made in your body.What Can I Do?
Half of all
Americans age 20 and older have cholesterol levels that are too high. The
good news is, you can make many lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol
and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
To reduce cholesterol in your blood, eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, lose weight if you need to and exercise for a total of at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week. Some people may also need to take medicine, because changing their diet isn't enough. If you've been prescribed medication or advised to make lifestyle changes to help manage your cholesterol, carefully follow your doctor's recommendations. By lowering your blood cholesterol level, you'll cut your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke!