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Blood Cholesterol: Management & Information

(See our Blood Cholesterol Level Chart)

The presence of high blood cholesterol does not produce symptoms; many people are unaware that they have an elevated blood cholesterol level.

Blood cholesterol may be checked easily and controlled. There are ways to keep blood cholesterol levels within a normal range. Cholesterol is carried in blood in particles referred to as, 'Lipoproteins.' Lipoproteins are made up of cholesterol on the inside with protein on the outside. There are two kinds of Lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins (LDL's), and high-density lipoproteins (HDL's).

Excessive amounts of either total or LDL cholesterol in the blood presents a risk for arthrosclerosis and heart disease. People may have an excess of cholesterol due to their diet and because of the rate at which cholesterol is processed in their body. The majority of the excess cholesterol comes from the person's diet. Cholesterol may build up on the person's artery walls in their body, a buildup referred to as, 'Plaque.' Over a period of time, plaque may cause the person's arteries to narrow, a process referred to as, 'Atherosclerosis.' As a result, less oxygen-rich blood can pass through. When the arteries that carry blood to the person's heart become affected, coronary artery disease may result. A heart attack happens when the person's coronary artery becomes completely blocked, either by plaque buildup or by a plaque that either ruptures or bursts causing a clot. The person may also develop angina due to plaque buildup. Angina occurs when the person's heart does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood.

If a doctor discovers that a person's blood cholesterol is too high, they may prescribe various forms of treatment depending on that person's risks for the development of heart disease. The forms of treatment may include lifestyle changes involving diet, physical activity, and weight control. The doctor may prescribe certain statin drugs in order to manage cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes are still commonly a recommendation, even with medications. Everyone can do things to help keep their cholesterol levels within an average range.


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