cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells
of the body.
Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D,
and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol
it needs. However, cholesterol also is found in some of the foods you
Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages
called lipoproteins. These packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and
proteins on the outside.
Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your
body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Having
healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins is important.
LDL cholesterol sometimes is called “bad” cholesterol. A high
LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL cholesterol
sometimes is called “good”cholesterol. This is because it carries cholesterol
from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver removes the
cholesterol from your body.
High blood cholesterol is a condition in which you have too much
cholesterol in your blood. By itself, the condition usually has no signs or
symptoms. Thus, many people don’t know that their cholesterol levels are too
People who have high blood cholesterol have a greater chance of
getting coronary artery disease. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in your
blood, the GREATER your chance is of getting heart disease. The higher the level
of HDL cholesterol in your blood, the LOWER your chance is of getting heart
Coronary heart disease is a condition in which plaque builds up
inside the coronary (heart) arteries. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat,
calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the
arteries, the condition is called Atherosclerosis.
Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your coronary arteries.
This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart
Eventually, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This
causes a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes
large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary
If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced
or blocked, a heart attack may occur.
A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a
section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked. If blood flow isn’t restored
quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die. Without quick treatment, a
heart attack can lead to serious problems and even
Lowering your cholesterol may slow, reduce, or even stop the
buildup of plaque in your arteries. It also may reduce the risk of plaque
rupturing and causing dangerous blood clots.