Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)
High cholesterol is the term often used to describe hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia. Lipids such as cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL ("bad cholesterol") and HDL ("good cholesterol") are fats normally present in the bloodstream. Although each of the lipids has an important function, unhealthy levels can damage blood vessels and lead to coronary artery disease. Unhealthy levels can be due to lifestyle choices such as poor eating habits, smoking or a lack of physical activity, but can also be due to family history or having a disease like diabetes.
Healthy artery walls allow blood to flow freely. When cholesterol levels are unhealthy blood vessels can become rough and collect plaque. This causes the blood vessels to become narrow and have blockage. It increases your chances for heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, kidney damage and blockage to arteries in the legs.
Lifestyle changes can help you achieve healthier blood lipid levels, and help to prevent damage to your heart and blood vessels. Making changes in the way you eat, getting regular exercise, working toward a healthy weight and stopping smoking are some things you can do to make a difference.
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