Health Effects of Cholesterol

Usually, the health effects of cholesterol problems develop over the course of many years. The most serious effects are due to a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing and hardening of arteries. Other negative health effects of cholesterol problems may include angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Lowering cholesterol is the best way to prevent or control these problems.

Health Effects of Cholesterol: An Introduction

An excess of cholesterol in the blood, or high cholesterol, can be serious. But the health effects of cholesterol problems do not occur after days, weeks, or months. High cholesterol causes problems over many years.
 

Health Effects of Cholesterol: Understanding Plaque and Atherosclerosis

The health effects of cholesterol problems are due to a condition called atherosclerosis, which is narrowing and hardening of arteries. If your levels of cholesterol are too high, LDLs (low density lipoproteins) will leave extra cholesterol in the blood. If the HDLs (high density lipoproteins) cannot pick up all of this cholesterol, it will begin to build up on your artery walls, along with other fats and debris. This buildup of cholesterol is called plaque. Over time, plaque can cause narrowing of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.
 

Specific Health Effects of High Cholesterol

Atherosclerosis can affect any blood vessel in the body. Therefore, the health effects of high cholesterol due to atherosclerosis include:
 
These potential health effects of high cholesterol will depend on whether the atherosclerosis partially or completely blocks the artery. It most commonly affects the arteries in the heart in people with high cholesterol.
 
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High Cholesterol-Overview

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