Medical researchers have established a link between coronary heart disease and smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, more recently, high triglycerides. Coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. High cholesterol may contribute to as high as 54 percent of cases of coronary heart disease worldwide.
Deposits of cholesterol can bring about atherosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the arteries caused by plaque buildup. 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. The shortage of blood and oxygen can cause angina and often results in irreversible damage to cardiac tissues that, if left untreated, may lead to a fatal heart attack.
As a general rule, blood cholesterol levels become a concern for men over 45 and women over 55. Medical professionals recommend that all adults, regardless of age or gender have their cholesterol checked at least every five years.
High cholesterol affects an estimated twenty percent of adult Americans. It is most prevalent among women ages 65 to 74. High cholesterol contributes to 4.4 million deaths worldwide, with deaths among women higher than deaths among men.
An evaluation of both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can be used to help assess a person's general health. Specifically, these levels help to assess the condition of the arteries, including those that supply blood to the heart.
information on health-related topics, not medical advice, diagnosis or
treatment recommendations. Please consult your physician if you have questions