dangers of high cholesterol levels

 The Primary Health Dangers of High Cholesterol

Your body creates the fatty substance known as cholesterol. It is also found in everyday foods, such as meat, dairy products and eggs. Though your body needs some cholesterol to function, too much is potentially dangerous. The dangers of high cholesterol levels include hardening of the arteries, heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

dangers of high cholesterol levels

1. Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs when a disease, such as high cholesterol or diabetes, damages the arterial lining. White blood cells respond to this damage by moving into the arterial lining, where they surround particles of cholesterol in an attempt to remove them. As more white cells accumulate at the site of the damage, they form an atheroma, or plaque.

2. Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries around the heart become narrowed from atherosclerosis. Symptoms of coronary artery disease include angina, or chest pain that typically accompanies emotional or physical stress. Angina pain sometimes occurs in the arm, abdomen or back. Shortness of breath and fatigue, usually with exercise, also potentially signify coronary artery disease.

3. Heart Attack

A heart attack happens when a blood clot blocks a coronary artery, stopping the flow of blood to the heart. These blood clots occur from atherosclerosis of a coronary artery or when an atheroma in another part of the circulatory system breaks free from the artery wall. As a result, the heart muscle sustains potentially serious and permanent damage. Symptoms of a heart attack include pressure, pain, or an aching sensation in the chest, arms, neck, jaw or back. Frequently reported symptoms include a feeling similar to indigestion, nausea, heartburn or fullness. Shortness of breath, sweating and fatigue are also common symptoms. Any combination of these symptoms potentially indicates a heart attack.

4. Stroke

A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain, reducing or eliminating blood supply to that part of the brain. Brain cells begin dying within minutes, and permanent brain damage is a real concern. Symptoms of a stroke include loss of balance or coordination; confusion and difficulty speaking; paralysis or numbness, especially on one side of the body; blurred vision, blackened vision or double vision; and a headache, often accompanied by dizziness, altered consciousness or vomiting.

High cholesterol causes no pain or symptoms. The only way to know you have it is through a blood test. The dangers of high cholesterol are real, but with diet, exercise and medications, you have a better chance of keeping your blood cholesterol levels within acceptable limits and preventing the serious consequences associated with this silent disease.

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