There are a number of risk factors for heart disease and heart attack. High blood cholesterol is one known risk factor.
When cholesterol is measured in the blood, 4 numbers are involved:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol (bad, think L for Lousy)
- HDL cholesterol (good, think H for Helpful)
- Triglycerides (fatty molecules that circulate energy from animal-based foods and those high in carbohydrates around the body-if the energy is not used up through physical activity, it continues to circulate or is stored in our fat cells)
The more cholesterol we have circulating in our blood, the greater the risk of our blood vessels becoming clogged. This is because LDL molecules are small and can start to stick to the inside of any artery that is damaged or roughened in some way. Stress is a known cause of damage and roughness. As the LDL sticks, it forms plaque. Over time, an artery can become very narrow because of the sticky plaque.