The Link Between Heart Disease and Cholesterol

Did the blood tests recommended by your doctor show that you have high cholesterol or triglyceride levels? Do you have poor diet and exercise habits that have resulted in weight gain? If so, you may be at risk for heart disease. What do you do?

You should develop a healthy lifestyle that includes appropriate weight loss and changes in diet and exercise. This is especially true for heart patients. For those with existing high levels, medications may be an important complement to both diet and exercise in helping to lower and maintain your cholesterol levels. (Remember to talk with your doctor before implementing an exercise program or making drastic changes to your diet.)

Cholesterol and Triglycerides?

Hyperlipidemia is the general term applied to high blood cholesterol and/or elevated blood triglycerides. We now know that elevated triglycerides promote the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, which results in a thickening and hardening of the artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Reducing triglycerides in the bloodstream is a good strategy to help minimize heart problems.

According to the American Heart Association, one study by Koren-Morag, Graff and Goldbourt found that individuals with elevated triglycerides have a nearly 30% increased probability of suffering a stroke, even after taking into account other risk factors such as cholesterol levels. One of the most important aspects of this study is that it clarifies the independent link of lipids to stroke, meaning that a causal relationship is likely. Adjusting your intake of fat is very important.

Responding to High Cholesterol

Researchers have established a strong link between high cholesterol and heart problems and, more recently, between high triglyceride levels and heart problems. When blood levels of these lipids are low, the likelihood that they will directly contribute to disease is much lower.

The good news is that their levels can be managed. Also it is ideal that you target your LDL levels to below 100 mg/dL of blood if you’re a heart patient and to below 130 mg/dL if you do not have heart disease.

The Inheritance Factor

Because a genetic basis exists for the production of lipids and for their concentration in your bloodstream, a family history of heart disease suggests an increased likelihood of developing heart problems.

The Role of Medicine

For some people, changing food intake patterns and adopting an effective exercise program are not enough to reduce LDL levels to normal.