How Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes “hardening of the arteries” so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer Chest pain . If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a Heart Attack.
High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing Heart disease and reduces the chance of a Heart Attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone-younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.
Revision date: July 3, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.