High Cholesterol And Stroke
Stroke is a cardiovascular disease that can have a significant impact on the health and quality of life of patients. High cholesterol is a unique condition that can lead to a variety of complications, including being a risk factor for stroke.
Cholesterol levels in the blood
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fats and lipids in the blood. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but too much cholesterol can lead to a variety of diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
High cholesterol levels can lead to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. When these deposits build up, it becomes difficult for blood to flow through the arteries. If the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen it needs, a heart attack can occur. If the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can lead to a stroke.
High cholesterol levels are often caused by poor diet and other lifestyle factors. It can also be inherited from parents.
Lipoproteins carry cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – in the blood. LDLs are also known as “bad cholesterol” mainly because they cause cholesterol to build up. On the other hand, HDL is also known as “good cholesterol” because it prevents cholesterol buildup in the blood vessels.
Risk Factors for High Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol levels cause fat to accumulate in the blood vessels. When these deposits build up, it becomes difficult for blood to flow through the arteries. If the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, a heart attack happens. If the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can lead to a stroke.
A number of factors can increase your risk of high blood cholesterol, including
- Obesity – People who are obese, or have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, are at risk for high cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise – Excessive time spent sitting or lying down without exercise is associated with lower HDL levels and higher LDL levels.
- Smoking – Smoking lowers HDL levels, especially in women. It can also increase LDL levels in the blood.
- Genetics – People with parents or siblings who have high cholesterol are more likely to have the same disease.
- Diabetes – People with high blood sugar levels are at higher risk of developing high cholesterol because they have lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (LDL) and higher levels of bad or LDL cholesterol.
What is the cause of high cholesterol?
Your liver makes cholesterol, but you also get it from your diet. Eating too many high-fat foods can cause cholesterol levels to rise.
Being overweight or not exercising enough can also lead to high cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, your triglyceride levels are likely to be high. If you don’t exercise and are generally inactive, you can lower your HDL (good) cholesterol.
Family history can also affect cholesterol levels. Studies show that high cholesterol often runs in families. If one of your close relatives has it, you may also have it.
Smoking can also cause high cholesterol, and it lowers HDL (good) cholesterol.
How is high cholesterol diagnosed?
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol until you are tested. A simple blood test can show your cholesterol level.
Men over the age of 35 and women over the age of 45 should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women over 20 who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol controlled; teenagers should be monitored to see if they are taking certain medications or if they have a family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Some risk factors for heart disease include
- High blood pressure.
- High growth period.
- History of heart disease in the immediate family (parents, siblings).
- Overweight or obese.
What is a Stroke?
Each year, more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke, brain attack or cerebrovascular accident. A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain, limiting the supply of oxygen-rich blood to nerve cells. Another type of stroke occurs when a blood vessel ruptures, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain and cutting off the oxygen supply. As a result, the affected part of the brain may have problems thinking, speaking, breathing, walking and other functions.
Risk factors for stroke
A number of factors may increase the risk of stroke. These include the following
- High blood pressure – If you have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, you are four to six times more likely to have a stroke. High blood pressure is identified when there is too much blood in the arteries and the artery walls are weakened. If the walls are too weak, they can break and fracture. Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks.
- High cholesterol – High levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Cholesterol causes fatty deposits in the arteries, reducing the supply of oxygen to the blood and brain. When parts of the brain do not get the oxygen they need, it can cause problems with talking, walking, breathing and moving around.
- Diabetes – High blood sugar levels can cause long-term damage to the arteries. Diabetes also increases the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots.
- Obesity – Being obese or overweight increases the risk of stroke, as does high blood pressure, diabetes and hyperlipidemia.
- Heart disease – All types of heart disease increase the risk of stroke because most heart disease is caused by disease processes that affect all the blood vessels in the body, including the brain. These include atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease and heart failure.
High Cholesterol and Stroke
High cholesterol increases the risk of vascular disease and is a risk factor for stroke. When high cholesterol levels cause plaque or fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, blood flow to the brain is blocked and less oxygen reaches brain cells.