What’s the Connection Between Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease?

Cholesterol’s Connection to Coronary Heart Disease

The main issue that arises from high cholesterol is coronary heart disease. The risk is especially high when your LDL is high.  This is essentially a disease of the arteries that bring the heart nutrients and oxygen. Atherosclerosis is the culprit behind coronary heart disease.

Atherosclerosis Furthered By Cholesterol’s Plaque

Atherosclerosis is a narrowing and hardening of the arteries that feed the heart. Most of the narrowing is caused by the depositing of cholesterol.  These cholesterol deposits are known as “plaque.”  Plaque around the artery can continue to grow and can lead to a decrease in nutrients and oxygen delivered to the heart. Over time, the narrowing can become so severe that the supply of nutrients and oxygen is insufficient to meet the heart’s needs. The plaque surrounding the artery can also become unstable and rupture, causing blood to clot in the region.  This may cause a complete or nearly complete cut off of blood flow to that region of the heart resulting in a heart attack.  You can think of this process like a kink in a hose.  Little or no oxygen or nutrients are delivered to that section of the heart and can cause death to the cells of that region of the heart.  In more severe cases the heart attack can result in death.

While some factors are unavoidable (like genetics), there are ways to prevent really severe cases.  A healthy lifestyle from early on can lower your chances of plaque build-up.  Lifestyle changes later on can help to restore health to your heart.  Look into your lifestyle choices.  Forming healthy habits can make all the difference, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

Coronary Heart Disease Is a #1 Concern in America

A similar process can happen in the brain as well, causing a stoke.  Atherosclerosis is the major contributor to both of these diseases, which are the number 1 and number 3 killers in America today. The American Heart Association has a great slide show that gives you a more in-depth view of how atherosclerosis work.  Just remember, it’s possible for you to be in control of your health.  Communicating with your doctors and reassessing some of your lifestyle choices can make a big difference.  Keep in mind that heart health doesn’t have to be hard.