How Can High Cholesterol Cause a Heart Attack?

May 26 , 2022

Weight loss

How Can High Cholesterol Cause a Heart Attack?

Your body needs cholesterol to make your cells function well, but high cholesterol can increase your risk of a heart attack. Read on to find out how.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver to build new cells, produce hormones, and insulate nerve cells. You can also get it through certain foods such as meat, egg, and milk.

How Does High Cholesterol Cause a Heart Attack or Stroke?

To understand how high cholesterol can cause a heart attack, you need to understand the types of cholesterol. Cholesterol travels in our bloodstream in two forms:

  • High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

This is commonly known as good cholesterol. It takes excess cholesterol to your liver for disposal. This is not harmful to your heart.

  • Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

This is known as bad cholesterol because too much LDL gets accumulated in your arteries’ walls. Blocked arteries prevent the blood from reaching your heart, causing a heart attack. Besides this, high triglycerides (another fat found in your bloodstream) can also increase your risk of heart attacks.

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Symptoms of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect your cholesterol levels. Get regular blood tests to monitor your cholesterol levels, especially if you have an increased risk of developing high cholesterol. Factors such as being obese or following a poor diet increase your risk of high cholesterol.

How Can You Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack?

Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol levels, which will help prevent heart attacks.

  • Eat Healthy

Follow a diet that includes vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, lean meat, and poultry.

  • Exercise Regularly

The CDC and AHA recommend 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercises (running, climbing stairs, etc.) or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises (brisk walking, playing tennis, swimming, etc.) every week to maintain a healthy weight.

  • Manage Your Stress

Lower your stress by practicing stress-relieving activities like meditation and yoga.

  • Quit Smoking

Smoking damages your blood vessels’ lining and makes the blood more susceptible to clotting. Therefore, quit smoking to prevent clotting and heart attacks.

  • Reduce Alcohol Intake

AHA says excessive alcohol consumption can raise your triglycerides, along with LDL, which can increase your risk of a heart attack. Therefore, it is recommended to have one drink a day (for women) or two drinks (for men).

  • Take Prescribed Medications

Ensure to take your cholesterol medications on time and as prescribed.

  • Treat Underlying Health Conditions

Health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and lupus, can increase your risk of a heart attack. Get them treated to improve your heart health.

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How to Protect Yourself from Heart Attacks

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels helps protect your heart health and prevents heart attacks. Ensure you have:

  • HDL - 60 mg/dL or higher
  • LDL – Less than 100 mg/dL, but if you have heart disease, it should be under 70 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides – Less than 150 mg/DL

The heart is a vital part of our body and requires special care to function properly. Follow the regime mentioned above and get yourself tested from time to time to stay healthy.

If you are looking for professional medical guidance to manage your cholesterol levels, contact us today at Newnan Family Medicine Associates P.C. Our experienced and skilled healthcare providers will create a personalized cholesterol management plan for you.

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