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arrow Cholesterol

How serious is High Cholesterol?

12 June 2007
Doctors know that lowering cholesterol levels reduces the risk of illness or death from heart disease. If you already have heart disease then lowering cholesterol will probably help you live longer. Blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart muscles are called coronary arteries.
  • High LDL cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease because it causes damage to and narrowing of the arteries.
  • When coronary arteries are narrowed by atherosclerosis, they may be incapable of supplying enough blood and oxygen to the heart muscle during exertion.
  • Lack of oxygen (called ischaemia) to the heart muscle causes chest pain.
  • There is a greater chance of a blood clot forming on the surface of the fatty deposit in the artery. This may cause complete blockage of the artery, leading to death of heart muscle (heart attack) in the affected area.
  • It is interesting that HDL cholesterol is sometimes called "good" cholesterol, because it helps to remove cholesterol from the blood and in so doing, may help to clear cholesterol plaque from the arteries.
The risk from high cholesterol is increased if other 'risk factors' are also present like high blood pressure and smoking, because these interact with each other.

By Astra Zeneca (A community public education information)

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