Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Heart Disease And Cholesterol

Heart Disease And Cholesterol by Keefe Figgatt

The medical community has long believed that high cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease. Few will dispute this belief, but there are other factors that can lead to severe and even fatal heart conditions.

Medical experts who took part in the Framingham Heart Study determined that high blood cholesterol is one of the factors leading to coronary heart disease or CHD.

Results of this study showed that people with higher cholesterol levels were also more likely to have coronary heart disease. In fact, it's unusual for people with low cholesterol to suffer from CHD.

The connection between high blood cholesterol and heart disease was also confirmed by another group of experts, whose studies showed that lowering the total LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level could drastically reduce coronary heart disease.

A recent series of cholesterol trials using statin drugs showed that lowering both total and LDL cholesterol levels could greatly reduce the chance of experiencing heart attack, angioplasty (a surgical bypass) or death due to coronary heart disease-related causes.

Other factors, in addition to high cholesterol levels, can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Some of these factors can be lowered with relatively simple diet, medication or lifestyle changes, but others cannot be altered.

As you present more combined risk factors, you face a greater likelihood of experiencing heart disease.

The greatest unchangeable risk factors are as follows:

* Age (55 and over for women, 45 and over for men)

* Family medical history. If you have parents or a sibling who died from heart disease at the ages stated above, you face a higher risk

There are some risk factors that you have the power to change.

They are:

* High total cholesterol and high LDL or "bad" cholesterol poses a risk. You can also lower your HDL or "good" cholesterol levels

* Reduce your blood pressure

* Quit smoking

* Manage your diabetes. Diabetics face a higher risk of developing heart disease

* Take part in physical activity

* Lose weight. Obesity and excess weight increases your riskIf you possess one or more of these high-risk factors, see your physician for ways to take action and reduce the risk of heart attack.

Some experts insist that high blood cholesterol and heart disease are somewhat connected. Others, on the other hand, hold that too much animal fat resulting in high cholesterol contributes to heart disease.

These experts argue that there is no such thing as "good" and "bad" cholesterol.

They believe that mental stress, physical activity and a change in body weight may influence the level of the blood cholesterol, and that high blood cholesterol is not dangerous but simply a reflection of an unhealthy condition.

While the experts may disagree on the factors of cholesterol and heart disease, everyone can agree that we all need to reduce our risks and increase our quality of life

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