MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- Northern Westchester Hospital’s Chief of Cardiology, Dr. Robert Pilchik explains the link between cholesterol and heart disease, deciphers puzzling numbers, and shares diet and exercise tips to bring cholesterol numbers into the safe zone.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease – including heart attack, and stroke — which will affect half of all men and one-third of all women.
Understanding cholesterol and its role in heart disease, and taking simple steps to achieve safe levels, are vital investments in heart health and your longevity. It’s never too early, or too late, to take charge of this key aspect of your health. What’s important is to start today.
Cholesterol is a type of fat. With all the grim news about it, you may be surprised to learn it’s naturally produced by your body, and required for essential bodily functions, such as building cells. Your second source of cholesterol is the foods you eat, mainly animal fats.
Cholesterol is carried through your body by little packages of protein and cholesterol, called lipoproteins. There are two types: high-density lipoprotein (HDL), often called “good” cholesterol; and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often called “bad” cholesterol.
Over time, if too much LDL cholesterol is circulating in your body, it starts to build up in the form of a hard structure called plaque, in the walls of arteries throughout the body, but mostly in arteries by the heart and those that feed the brain.
Plaque causes artery walls to thicken – leading to a condition called atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. As artery walls thicken, the vessels narrow restricting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart or brain. Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
Discover why learning about cholesterol can mean living longer. Get the facts on the NWH blog, and take control.