High cholesterol can be detrimental to the heart and lead to stroke over time

10:43 am Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine

People with a family history or heart disease must take precautions early

New Delhi, 25 April 2019: Researchers have unveiled how bad cholesterol enters the artery which leads to narrowing of the blood formation due to the formation of plaque. The narrow blood vessels cause heart attack and strokes, according to a study. In the early stages of atherosclerosis, LDL that has entered the artery wall attracts and is engulfed by important immune system cells called macrophages. LDL-laden macrophages become foam cells promoting inflammation and leading to formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

The plaques narrow the artery and can become unstable. Plaques that rupture can activate blood clotting and block blood flow to the brain or heart, resulting in a stroke or heart attack.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “After a certain point, to much cholesterol starts to build up in the arteries causing them to harden – a condition known as atherosclerosis. This is also the starting point for some heart and blood flow problems. Such a buildup can narrow the arteries and make it harder for blood to flow through them. Further, it can also lead to dangerous blood clots and inflammation causing heart attacks and strokes. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder, characterized by high cholesterol, specifically very high LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ levels, and premature heart disease. Patients may develop premature cardiovascular disease at the age of 30 to 40.”

Cholesterol levels in the body are be measured by blood testing. In addition to cholesterol and its different types, triglyceride levels can also be included in a lipid (fat) profile.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The total cholesterol can vary by 4% to 11% within an individual due to multiple factors including stress, minor illness and posture. Values may also vary between different laboratories, with data suggesting that a single measurement of serum cholesterol can vary as much as 14 percent. Therefore, in an individual with “true” serum cholesterol concentration of 200 mg/dL the range of expected values is 172 to 228 mg/dL.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • It is important to eat a heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering diet.
  • Exercising for about 30 minutes a day can raise HDL levels (the good cholesterol). Those with any other underlying medical conditions should check with their health-care providers about what kind of exercise they should undertake.
  • Aerobic exercise can help in improving insulin sensitivity, HDL, and triglyceride levels and may thus reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Smoking increases HDL levels and therefore, you should quit immediately.
  • Losing even a little bit of weight can help in managing cholesterol levels.

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