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In fact, it is only when your LDL cholesterol level surpasses 100 mg/dl that this type of cholesterol can begin to increase your risk of developing a variety of issues that can be detrimental to your health.
Your arteries are responsible for carrying blood that is filled with oxygen from the heart to tissues located throughout your body. If there are unhealthy levels of LDL cholesterol in your body, the LDL cholesterol can begin to accumulate on the inside of your arteries. This buildup is known as plaque. The buildup of plaque results in a lower level of blood flow as well as a stiffening of the arteries. This stiffening, known as atherosclerosis, can result in serious health issues, including heart disease and peripheral arterial disease.
A buildup of plaque in your coronary arteries, which are located on the outside of your heart, can cause a disruption in the flow of oxygenated blood. A lower level of oxygen-rich blood can cause pain in your chest. This pain is called angina. Although angina is not a heart attack, it is caused by a serious decrease in blood flow. As such, angina is actually a strong warning that you may be at risk for a heart attack. In fact, if plaque continues to form, the flow of blood can eventually be completely blocked. Conversely, a section of plaque can ultimately break off and form a clot, which can also block the flow of blood. Both of these situations are extremely serious as they each can lead to a heart attack.
PAD usually occurs when high levels of LDL cholesterol result in the buildup of plaque in the arteries that deliver oxygenated blood to your limbs. Pain when walking, particularly in the legs and feet, is a typical symptom of this disease. The location of the pain, which is usually in the calf, typically indicates the location of the narrowing artery. If PAD is not treated, you can develop critical limb ischemia. Critical limb ischemia is a condition that occurs when an injury does not heal and actually progresses to the point of tissue death. If the tissue death is severe enough, it can lead to amputation.
Located in the left and right side of the neck, the carotid arteries are responsible for the delivery of oxygenated blood to the neck, face, and brain. The carotid artery splits off into two areas within the neck. The internal carotid artery is responsible for delivering blood to your brain. The artery that delivers blood to your neck and face is referred to as the external carotid artery. If high cholesterol leads to the buildup of plaque in your internal carotid artery, the blood flow to your brain will be reduced. If the buildup is not addressed, the arteries can become completely blocked, which can result in a stroke.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that progresses over time and causes extreme impairments in memory as well as other mental functions. Studies have revealed a connection between high cholesterol and Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, if you have higher cholesterol levels, you will have a higher overall probability of developing Alzheimer’s as you age. Additionally, preliminary research has shown a link between high LDL cholesterol and early-on-set Alzheimer’s disease in people ranging from 50 years old to 75 years old.
High cholesterol can also cause serious issues within the brain, which can negatively affect your health. For instance, if a blockage of blood flow occurs due to the accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries that are located within the brain, the brain does not receive the oxygen nor any of the nutrients it needs to function properly. A blocked flow of blood can lead to a stroke. Additionally, the cells within the brain begin to quickly die once a stroke occurs. Left unchecked, a stroke can lead to severe and irreversible brain damage.
Cholesterol plays an integral part in the production of bile. Bile is an alkaline fluid that helps with digestion and the absorption of important nutrients into your intestines. Although bile is made in the liver, it is actually stored in your gallbladder.
High cholesterol has been found to increase the levels of naturally occurring cholesterol in your bile. When this happens, the excess of cholesterol in your bile can cause crystals to form. These crystals can ultimately form into hard stones within your gallbladder. These stones are called gallstones and can cause extreme pain. In some cases, the severity of the gallstones can result in surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Your kidneys are responsible for removing water and waste from your body. In terms of removing waste, your kidneys filter out substances, such as sodium and potassium, which, in high amounts, can be toxic to your body. Once the waste is removed, your kidneys then return vital substances, such as vitamins, hormones, and glucose to your bloodstream.
When it comes to the health of your kidneys, plaque that results from high cholesterol can build up in your renal arteries. Once this occurs, chronic kidney disease can develop. Chronic kidney disease results in the impairment of the kidneys, which basically means there is a serious decrease in organ efficiency when it comes to out-processing toxins from the blood. This prolonged inefficiency can result in renal failure.
This article has not been paid for by any advertiser. This content is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice or analysis.