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Blood Cholesterol


An important attribute in deciding a person's risk of getting coronary heart disease. When you have too much cholesterol in your Blood, the excess builds up on the walls of the arteries that carry Blood to the heart. This buildup is called "atherosclerosis" or "hardening of the arteries."

It narrows the arteries and can slow down or block Blood flow to the heart. With less Blood, the heart gets less oxygen. With not enough oxygen to the heart, there may be chest pain, heart attack, or even death. Cholesterol buildup is the most common cause of heart disease, and it happens so slowly that you are not even aware of it. The higher your Blood cholesterol, the greater your chance of this buildup.

Why Is Cholesterol Important?
Your blood cholesterol level has a lot to do with your chances of getting heart disease. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. A risk factor is a condition that increases your chance of getting a disease. In fact, the higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the developed countries. Each year, many a million have heart attacks, and about a million people die from heart disease.

How Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
When there is too much cholesterol (a fat-like substance) in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this buildup causes "hardening of the arteries" so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart, you may suffer chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.

High blood cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone--younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.

Only 38% of the blood is collected in the developing world where 82% of the world's population lives.
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