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Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Attacks

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The Fourth Nail In The Cholesterol Theory Coffin

Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?

Those of you who are old enough may remember that for years there was no distinction between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. All you were told is that you had to eat fake margarine to keep your cholesterol levels down. It was only some time later that researchers discovered that HDL was actually heart protective whereas it was only the LDL that needed to be reduced. From that point on, it was all about maintaining healthy cholesterol ratios between your HDL and LDL. The new guidelines havent changed that assessment theyve only changed what they say makes those LDL levels climb. But there focus on LDL is wrong. As it turns out, focusing on LDL cholesterol as the cause of heart problems is little better than focusing on simple overall cholesterol levels. As it turns out, things are more complex than HDL VS LDL.

So why dont doctors tell you what forms of LDL you have circulating in your blood? Considering that your own personal mix may well determine whether you have the cardiovascular system of an ox or are headed for an imminent heart attack, that would seem to be important. Quite simply: doctors dont tell you because typical LDL tests cant distinguish between large and small LDL particles they cant spot the difference. In other words, since you doctor is ignorant, you remain ignorant.

What Are The Heart Disease Risk Factors That I Cannot Change

  • Age. Your risk of heart disease increases as you get older. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a greater risk.
  • Sex. Some risk factors may affect heart disease risk differently in women than in men. For example, estrogen provides women some protection against heart disease, but diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men.
  • Race or ethnicity. Certain groups have higher risks than others. African Americans are more likely than whites to have heart disease, while Hispanic Americans are less likely to have it. Some Asian groups, such as East Asians, have lower rates, but South Asians have higher rates.
  • Family history. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.

Most Heart Attack Patients’ Cholesterol Levels Did Not Indicate Cardiac Risk

University of California – Los Angeles
A new national study has shown that nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were not at high risk for a cardiovascular event, according to current national cholesterol guidelines.

A new national study has shown that nearly 75 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were not at high risk for a cardiovascular event, based on current national cholesterol guidelines.

Specifically, these patients had low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that met current guidelines, and close to half had LDL levels classified in guidelines as optimal .

“Almost 75 percent of heart attack patients fell within recommended targets for LDL cholesterol, demonstrating that the current guidelines may not be low enough to cut heart attack risk in most who could benefit,” said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s principal investigator.

Researchers also found that more than half of patients hospitalized for a heart attack had high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels characterized as poor by the national guidelines.

“The study gives us new insight and intervention ideas to help reduce the number of heart attacks,” said Fonarow, who is also director of the AhmansonUCLA Cardiomyopathy Center.

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Heart Disease And Stroke Risk Factors

There is no single cause for CVD, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of a heart attack or stroke. There are modifiable factors and non-modifiable factors .

Heart disease and stroke risk factors that you can change include:

Social isolation and lack of social support are risk factors for CVD that can be changed, although it can seem challenging. One way to help with loneliness is to learn how to improve your social connections.

Risk factors you canât change include increasing age, being male, being post-menopausal and having a family history of CVD. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also at increased risk of CVD.

The good news is that you can reduce your overall risk of developing CVD by leading a healthy lifestyle and taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

Can High Blood Cholesterol Cause A Stroke Or Heart Attack

Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Attacks?

We constantly hear about high blood cholesterol and how bad it is for us. But it is not just lip service. High blood cholesterol can cause permanent disability and even lead to death. The idea that it wont happen to you is just a way of making yourself feel better about a problem that you do not want to attend to.

Without tackling your high blood cholesterol as soon as possible, you are sitting on a ticking time bomb which will most likely explode in due course. The fact is that high blood cholesterol can cause a range of complications and affect your body in several ways. The two most commonly known and feared conditions associated with blood cholesterol is a stroke and a heart attack.

High blood cholesterol is so serious a problem that even insurance companies may not give cover you if your levels are too high. There is no age group that is safe from developing high blood cholesterol or suffering from complications. Therefore high blood cholesterol needs to be attended to immediately once diagnosed.

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How Lifelong Cholesterol Levels Can Harm Or Help Your Heart

The longer you have high levels of bad LDL cholesterol, the greater your risk of a heart attack.

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By Nicholas Bakalar

LDL, or bad cholesterol, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Now a new study suggests that, like smoking, it has a cumulative effect over a lifetime: The longer a person has high LDL, the greater their risk of suffering a heart attack or cardiac arrest.

Coronary heart disease, also known as hardening of the arteries, is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries that narrows the vessels and blocks the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. Often, people have no symptoms and remain unaware they have the disease for years until they develop chest pain or suffer a catastrophic event like a heart attack.

Using data from four large prospective health studies, researchers calculated LDL levels over time in 18,288 people who had multiple LDL tests taken at different ages. They calculated their cumulative exposure to LDL and followed their health for an average of 16 years. The study is in JAMA Cardiology.

The researchers found that the longer a person had high levels of LDL no matter what their LDL level is in young adulthood or middle age the greater the risk for coronary heart disease. Compared with those in the lowest quarter for cumulative exposure, those in the highest had a 57 percent increased risk.

Myth : Its Okay To Have Higher Blood Pressure When Youre Older

Blood pressure tends to rise with age, but the fact that this trend is normal doesnt mean that it is good for you. It happens because artery walls become stiff with age. Stiff arteries force the heart to pump harder. This sets up a vicious cycle. Blood pounding against the artery walls damages them over time. The overworked heart muscle becomes less effective and pumps harder to meet the bodys demands for blood. This further damages the arteries and invites fat into the artery walls. This is how high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What you can do: Have your blood pressure checked. If its above 140/90 millimeters of mercury, ask your doctor what you can do to bring it down.

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The Single Best Predictor Of A Heart Attack

The calcium score is the single best predictor of a heart attack. Learn about the test, plus eight other risk factors for heart disease you can’t ignore.

Each year close to 1.4 million Americans experience a heart attack, and more than 500,000 die from it. Strikingly, according to the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, 50 to 70 percent of those who suffered fatal heart attacks were not even aware of their risk. Despite recent scientific advances in heart disease prevention, many high-risk patients are overlooked when conventional risk assessment methods such as cholesterol and blood pressure screenings are used alone.

Heres what you need to know about the No. 1 predictor of a heart attack, the calcium score, plus eight other risk factors to consider.

Heart Attacks And High Blood Cholesterol

Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?

A heart attack occurs when your heart muscle is starved off oxygen. It mainly arises as a consequence of coronary artery disease. The heart muscle needs a constant supply of blood laden with oxygen to continue functioning. This blood reaches the heart muscle through the coronary arteries.

With high blood cholesterol, you are more likely to develop a condition known as atherosclerosis. This is where fatty plaques develop in the artery wall thereby narrowing it. Atherosclerosis is more likely to occur in people who suffer from high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure .

The coronary artery narrows gradually over months and years. Eventually the fatty plaque may rupture and a blood clot forms at the site. This can instantly block the already narrowed coronary artery. The blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off which means that not enough oxygen is reaching the heart muscle. Eventually the affected portion of the muscle dies .

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I Am A Healthy Weight So I Cant Have High Cholesterol

Oh, yes you can! according to Dr. Greenfield. Cholesterol balance is really a function of what we eat but also our genetics. For example, a person can be born with a genetic tendency to not process cholesterol efficiently.

Because its genetic, he explained, it has been called familial hypercholesterolemia, and it might be as common as 1 in 200 people. Weight is more a function of your inherited metabolism and the balance between calories consumed and calories expended.

Dr. Paz concurred: Even if you have a healthy weight, your cholesterol can be abnormal. Other factors that impact your cholesterol are the foods you eat, your exercise habits, whether you smoke, and how much alcohol you drink.

Additionally, as Dr. Lajoie told us, people who have a healthy weight might have high cholesterol levels, while some people who have overweight may not have high cholesterol. Cholesterol levels are affected by genetics, thyroid function, medications, exercise, sleep, and diet, she explained.

There are also factors that you cannot modify and which can contribute to high cholesterol, like your age and your genetics, she continued.

Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease: What Different Studies Say

Does high cholesterol cause heart disease or not? This is one of the popular concepts that researchers are studying for years in order to find the perfect evidence that shows link between cholesterol and heart disease. In this article, we will try to understand these studies and know whether the two are connected or not.

To start with, lets know

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Myth : If You Have Smoked For Years You Can’t Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease By Quitting

The benefits of quitting smoking start the minute you quit, no matter your age, how long you have smoked, or how many cigarettes a day you have smoked. Only one year after quitting, your heart attack risk will have dropped by 50% in 10 years, it will be the same as if you never smoked.

What you can do: Seek help to quit smoking. Many people require stop-smoking aids, such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, or a stop-smoking medication, to be successful.

Myth : You Can Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease With Vitamins And Supplements

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The antioxidant vitamins E, C, and beta carotene factor into lowering heart disease risk. However, clinical trials of supplementation with these vitamins have either failed to confirm benefit or were conducted in such a way that no conclusion could be drawn. The American Heart Association has stated that there is no scientific evidence to justify using these vitamins to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.

What you can do: For reasons not yet understood, the body absorbs and utilizes vitamins and minerals best when they are acquired through foods. To ensure you get the vitamins and minerals you need, skip store-bought supplements and eat a wide variety of nutritious foods of every color of the rainbow.

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What Are Hdl Ldl And Vldl

HDL, LDL, and VLDL are lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. Different types of lipoproteins have different purposes:

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called bad cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
  • VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein. Some people also call VLDL a bad cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But VLDL and LDL are different VLDL mainly carries triglycerides and LDL mainly carries cholesterol.

Does Cholesterol Really Predict Heart Disease

Cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease. Half of those with heart disease have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels. Half of those with ‘high’ cholesterol levels have healthy hearts. Most heart attack victims have cholesterol within the “normal” range.

And should we eat a low-fat diet or a low-carb diet? The World Heart Federation president, Salim Yusuf, has presented the data from the PURE study on diet and cardiovascular disease. He concluded that fats protect us and carbs are harmful.

Inflammation is the real enemy of heart disease.

Should you worry about high cholesterol? You need to talk to your health care practitioner to discuss your risk factors. You may also wish to have a calcium scan which is a true reflection of your heart health, rather than a predicted ratio that has been calculated using population data.

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Depression And Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Studies have shown that people with depression, those who are socially isolated or do not have quality social support are at greater risk of developing CVD.

Depression can be treated with medical and non-medical therapies. If you think you have depression, talking to your health professional is the best first step.

Ways To Lower Cholesterol

Does High Cholesterol Cause Heart Attacks?

Check your own cholesterol level and if it’s high, ask to have your kids’ levels checked.

Here are 5 ways to help keep your family’s cholesterol in control:

  • Serve a heart-healthy diet, including:- vegetables, fruit, and whole grains- lean meats and poultry, fish, nuts, beans, and soy products- nonfat or low-fat milk and dairy products- healthy fats, like those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils
  • Limit drinks and foods with added sugars.
  • Read nutrition facts labels so that you can limit cholesterol and saturated fat and trans fat.
  • Encourage plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost HDL levels in the blood and that’s a good thing! Kids and teens should be physically active at least 60 minutes a day.
  • Help your kids keep a healthy weight.
  • It’s important to make healthy living a family effort. The steps you take to improve your family’s lifestyle will have a positive effect on your family’s health now and far into the future.

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    Myth : If You Have Heart Disease You Should Eat As Little Fat As Possible

    It’s true you should eat a diet low in saturated fat, partially hydrogenated fat, and trans fat. But other fats, notably the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils and other foods, are beneficial. In fact, eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, twice a week can lower the risk of heart disease.

    What you can do: Include low-fat dairy products, fatty fishes, nuts, and olive oil in your diet. If you eat meat, make sure the cuts are lean, and remove the skin from your poultry.

    Wait I Thought Eggs Are Healthy

    Eggs are such a cornerstone of the American diet, a high-protein breakfast option thats quick and easy and in seemingly everything from scrambles to baked goods. And theyve often been touted as a healthy option thanks to their nutritional profile: protein, B12, Omega-3s, selenium, iron, zinc, copper, vitamins D, B6, B12.

    But unfortunately, the cholesterol levels in eggs outweigh the benefits. Too much dietary cholesterol isnt just associated with higher heart disease risk, the regular consumption of eggs and other high cholesterol animal products promotes cancer growth and Alzheimers disease, too.

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    Is There More To A Healthy

    Low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol, is an accepted cause of heart disease.Credit: Juan Gaertner/SPL

    Shortly after the end of the Second World War, large numbers of wealthy businessmen in the United States began dying from heart attacks. Shocked by the obituaries mounting up in his local newspaper, physiologist Ancel Keys decided to investigate. His findings would fundamentally change the way we eat for decades to come.

    Keys couldnt understand why high-powered US executives, with access to plentiful food, had much higher rates of coronary heart disease than did people in post-war Europe, where food shortages were common. Then it dawned on him: could there be a correlation between fat in the diet and heart disease? Keys presented his dietheart hypothesis with gusto at a World Health Organization meeting in 1955. Six years later, his face appeared on the cover of Time magazine, in which he urged readers to shun fatty foods such as dairy products and red meat.

    Landmark studies such as these laid the groundwork for the introduction of dietary guidelines in the United States and the United Kingdom during the 1970s and 1980s. The recommendations advised citizens to reduce their consumption of saturated fat to about 10% of their total energy intake, to lower cholesterol in the blood and therefore decrease the chances of a heart attack. In the public consciousness, a low-fat diet has been synonymous with good health ever since.

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