6 Unhealthy Ways Cholesterol Can Affect Your Heart
The heart is one of the most important and vital organs in the human body, and it is responsible for pumping blood to all the parts of the body through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. However, if the blood pumped by the heart fails to reach all the organs of the body or the heart fails to pump enough blood then this will lead to cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases.
What Is Cholesterol
Cardiovascular diseases in human beings mainly occur due to a compound called Cholesterol. So what is Cholesterol? Cholesterol in its simplest term is a chemical compound of the human body and is a building block of many cell membranes.
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and constitutes a part of the blood and the bloodstream. However, Cholesterol in itself is not a harmful compound, but it is the excess of cholesterol that causes the damage. Cholesterol is also of two types, and they are High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is termed as good cholesterol as it does not stick to the inner walls of the blood vessels whereas LDL is termed as Bad Cholesterol because it sticks and accumulates on the inner walls of the blood vessels causing clots and thus giving rise to cardiovascular diseases.
Cholesterol is a natural component of the human body, and its presence is required for the normal functioning of the body. Cholesterol becomes harmful for the Humans only when its quantity becomes high in the bloodstream. With that said there are many ways in which cholesterol can affect your heart and six ways in which it does are as follows:
1. Coronary Artery Disease: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
It is a disease of the heart and it is also known as Coronary Heart Disease. What happens in this disease is that the supply of blood from the arteries to a person’s heart becomes reduced or blocked. It becomes blocked or reduced due to the build-up of cholesterol plaque in the any of the four arteries. This condition is termed as atherosclerosis.
If the blood supply to an individual’s heart is stopped, then the heart will fail to perform its functions normally, which will eventually lead to a heart attack and in most cases it causes death. As such Coronary Artery Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Angina is termed as the pain, discomfort or tightness which is felt in the heart. The pain may last for a minute or for as long as fifteen minutes. Angina occurs when the heart does not receive the adequate amount of Oxygen which it requires due to various factors. The main cause of Angina is due to the narrowing of the arteries which eventually prevents normal blood flow leading to one’s heart.
Angina is of various types, and some of them are Stable Angina, Unstable Angina, Variant Angina and Micro-vascular Angina. What is common in all these types of Angina is that narrowing of arteries is caused due to the presence of cholesterol deposits or plaques in the inner lining of the artery. Though Angina itself is not serious heart disease, however, it is an indicator that of the possibilities of other heart diseases.
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3. Heart Attack
Myocardial Infarction which is most commonly known as Heart Attack happens when the heart stops receiving blood from the arteries due to a blood clot. When blood flow to a person’s heart has stopped the muscles of the heart stop functioning and this result in a heart attack.
The severity of the heart attack depends on the duration of time in which the blood flow to the person’s heart has been stopped. If the blockage is brief and the blood flow resumes than the damage are reversible in most cases, however, if the blockage occurs for a longer period, then it can cause more serious complications of the heart such as Arrhythmia, Myocardial rupture, and even heart failure.
So what causes the blood clot in the arteries? In the majority of the cases, the blood clot is caused due to building up of cholesterol plaque in the inner walls of the arteries.
4. Heart Failure
Heart failure is the condition in which your heart is not able to pump the required or adequate amount of blood that is needed for the proper functioning of the body. There are many reasons which cause high blood pressure, and some of the most common causes are high blood pressure, congenital heart diseases, the inflammation of the heart muscles and the constriction and narrowing of the arteries of the heart.
In most cases, coronary artery disease is to be blamed for causing heart failure. The constriction and narrowing are caused due to the accumulation of cholesterol deposits which eventually form plaques, which eventually block the blood supply causing heart failure.
Arrhythmia is the condition in which the heart’s electrical system stops functioning properly. The heart’s beating pattern and rhythm which is supposed to be consistent in most cases will become irregular, with it being slow and sometimes being very fast. These irregular rhythms are termed as arrhythmia.
The main culprit in most cases is due to the poor supply of blood an individual’s heart, which causes the irregular rhythms to occur. Cholesterol build-up which forms plaque and accumulates inside the blood vessels, i.e., the arteries is the main cause for the poor supply of blood. The major symptoms of arrhythmia are fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and palpitations.
6. Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac Arrest is the condition in which the heart suddenly stops pumping blood. When the heart fails to supply blood to all the organs, most importantly the brain, the body shuts down, and you eventually stop breathing. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical activity becomes haywire which leads the heart to stop beating in a normal rhythm instead it starts quivering. Cholesterol also plays a part in Cardiac Arrest as coronary heart disease is also a major cause of Cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest has no symptoms as such it can strike at any time without warning, and in many cases it is fatal.
It is quite clear that having high amounts of cholesterol in your system can affect your heart in many ways. The chances of suffering from cardiovascular diseases as such become very high when there you have high levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Therefore, it is necessary to see to it that the cholesterol levels in your body are always kept at optimum levels. Some of the things which you can do to keep your Cholesterol levels in check are eating a healthy and balanced diet, leading an active lifestyle, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and tobacco products, controlling your weight and avoiding stress.