Cholesterol High Heart Disease

Deposits of cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, thickening and hardening of the arteries caused by plaque build up. Atherosclerosis is often associated with conditions such as heart palpitations, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are irregularities in the pumping action of the heart such as rapid beating or skipped beats. If arteries are partially blocked, the cardiac muscle must contract faster and harder to move the same volume of blood. While healthy inpiduals may occasionally experience palpitations, recurrent heart palpitations can be life threatening.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a decrease in the efficiency of the heart’s pumping ability and results in a decreased volume of blood being moved forward with each heartbeat.

Many contributing factors are associated with congestive heart failure. Some of the common contributors include stress, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and any medical condition that results in heart valve and heart wall damage.

Congestive heart failure results in less oxygen and nutrient exchange between body tissues, and poor blood flow alters the fluid dynamics of the body causing fluid buildup in the lungs and swelling of the legs. Over time, if it’s left untreated, heart failure can adversely affect nearly every organ in the body.

Deposits of cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, a thickening and hardening of the arteries caused by plaque build up.Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. In coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries (the vessels that supply blood to the heart) decreases the blood and oxygen supply to the cardiac muscle causing angina, and often resulting in irreversible damage to cardiac tissues and, if left untreated, a fatal heart attack.

Stroke

Stroke is a “brain attack” brought on by a blockage of blood flow to the brain. Very often this blockage is caused by a piece of dislodged plaque, or a loosened blood clot that originated in an artery affected by plaque, becoming lodged in a brain artery narrowed by plaque build up. This is called an embolic stroke. The bursting of a blood vessel in the brain, or aneurysm, is another common cause of stroke.

Thinning of the Pocket Book

The economic risks of living with high cholesterol are also very apparent. The increased likelihood of open-heart surgery and the costs associated with post-operative drugs and medical care could mean economic hardship. It is a lot easier to prevent cardiovascular disease than live with its effects.

Resources

Lang, J. E. (nd). Assessment of risk of heart attack and stroke.

Lee, D. (nd). Cholesterol and the heart.

National heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (1997). Live healthier, live longer: Lowering cholesterol for the person with heart disease [NIh Publication No. 97-3805].