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What You Need to Know about High Cholesterol - Part 1

July 9, 2012

High cholesterol affects about 13% of the total population of the United States. It is a condition that should not be taken lightly, because it can lead to serious health problems. If you have high cholesterol, you should try to learn more about the condition, so that you will know what to do to prevent it from ruining your life.

good and bad cholesterol levelsHigh cholesterol means that there is an excessive amount of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that can be found in every cell in your body, and it performs the important function of producing vitamin D, hormones, and substances that facilitate the digestion of food. It is transported through your bloodstream in tiny packages called lipoproteins, which can be high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is referred to as “good” cholesterol, because it transports cholesterol from various parts of your body to your liver, where it will be removed from your body. LDL, on the other hand, is known as “bad” cholesterol, because high levels of it can cause cholesterol build-up in your arteries.

When cholesterol builds up on the walls of your arteries, it can restrict blood flow to your heart, brain, and other parts of your body, and even cause blood clots to develop. This can result in an increased risk of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, or mini-stroke. If your blood cholesterol level is high, you may experience angina, or chest pain, during physical activity.

In our next post, we will talk about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of high cholesterol.