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High Cholesterol

Several drugs and diseases can bring about high cholesterol, but, for most people, a high-fat diet and inherited risk factors may be the main causes. Learn how to lower your high cholesterol.

Monday, April 09, 2007

High Cholesterol Risk Factors And Treatment Options
high cholesterol cure

High Cholesterol Level: Risk Factors, Treatment Options

Tip! According to the American Heart Association, 'You can reduce cholesterol in your blood by eating healthful foods, losing weight if you need to and exercising.' What follows is a listing of the most potent foods to add to your diet if you want to fight high cholesterol and drive your levels down using your diet as a primary tool.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) made by the body. About 80% of cholesterol is made by the body, the other 20% comes from the diet. Cholesterol is a building block for cell membranes. Our body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones (e.g., progesterone, estrogen, testosterone), vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat.

Many foods contain cholesterol and high intake of these foods can increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. Having too much cholesterol in the blood is not a disease in itself, but high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can cause the formation and accumulation of plaque deposits in the arteries. Plaque is composed of cholesterol, other fatty substances, fibrous tissue, and calcium. When it builds up in the arteries, it results in the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the major vascular systems.

Narrowing of the arteries around the heart (coronary heart disease) can prevent the heart from getting as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, increasing the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke, and less blood flowing to the lower limbs may result in exercise-related pain or even gangrene.

Having a high cholesterol level does not cause symptoms and does not make you feel sick. If there is a huge excess, some people develop soft, yellowish skin growths called xanthomas, usually in the area near the eyes. Most people find out they have high cholesterol when they have their blood cholesterol measured as part of a medical check-up.

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