Tuesday, June 28th, 2022
Close to 94 million adults over the age of 20 in the United States have cholesterol levels that exceed 200 mg/dL, which is considered high cholesterol. This widespread health concern has no symptoms but presents many notable risks, including:
Coronary Heart Disease
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis, which is the gradual hardening of the arteries. When the arteries that supply the heart are affected by atherosclerosis, circulation to the heart can be compromised. Additionally, cholesterol buildup, known as plaques, can break off and partially or completely block smaller blood vessels.
Both of these factors contribute to reduced blood flow to the heart, which may lead to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease may result in chest pain, heart attack, and even cardiac arrest.
In addition to the blood vessels that supply the heart, cholesterol may accumulate in arteries that supply the brain. For this reason, high cholesterol increases the risk of stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is limited or disrupted. A stroke is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical treatment.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease, or PVD, occurs when the blood vessels outside of the brain and heart become restricted or blocked. High cholesterol is a key cause of this condition, which can be life-threatening when left untreated.
High Blood Pressure
Elevated cholesterol levels have been linked to high blood pressure. This is likely because cholesterol buildup interferes with the contraction and release of blood vessels, which may impact the pressure required to circulate blood. High blood pressure has been linked to stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack, sexual dysfunction, and kidney disease.