Weight, Cholesterol, and Heart Disease

March 21, 2017

Weight, Cholesterol, and Heart Disease

Heart disease is primarily caused by atherosclerosis, or thickening and hardening of the arteries.  If an artery narrows too much, you can feel chest pain. A heart attack occurs if an artery closes all the way or narrows so much that a blood clot blocks the blood flow.  High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart attack, the leading cause of death in America. 

Some risk factors for heart disease, such as advancing age, gender and heredity, can't be controlled. But, says the American Heart Association, you can control other factors, including:

  • Obesity. Your risk of heart disease increases if you're more than 30 percent overweight. Obesity raises cholesterol, blood pressure, and can lead to diabetes, another risk factor for heart disease. You can reduce your risk for heart disease by losing as few as 10 pounds if you are overweight.

  • High cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the body's cells. Two ways to lower your cholesterol are to exercise regularly and eat a diet low in saturated fat.

  • Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise is a major risk factor for heart disease because inactivity contributes to higher cholesterol and obesity.

Preventing heart disease

You can reduce your risk of heart disease and a heart attack by seeing your doctor for regular checkups to evaluate your risk factors. If you have risk factors, you and your doctor can work together to control them.

The AHA recommends regular screening for your risk of heart disease beginning at age 20. Screening includes measuring blood pressure, body mass index, waist circumference and pulse every two years, and getting a cholesterol profile and glucose testing every five years.

Your doctor may want you to have more frequent screenings or visits if you have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or other health problems.




March 21, 2017


Well Advised Library - High Cholesterol

Reviewed By:  

Carolyn BrownCarolyn Brown RN MN CCRN CNS