Cholesterol and blood pressure have long been a subject of study in medical science, and the link between the two has been made much clearer in recent years. Understanding the relationship between the two will help you make healthier choices and protect your heart.
Cholesterol consists of fat from food sources that collect in our blood and link to proteins to form compounds called lipoproteins. Blood pressure refers to the rate of blood flowing through veins and arteries.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) accumulate on the walls of arteries, constricting them and forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the circulatory system. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are known as the "good" form of cholesterol because they carry away fat deposits that build up on blood vessel walls.
When arteries have been constricted due to plaque accumulation inside blood vessels, it takes more effort for the heart to get blood pumping through these arteries. This, in turn, raises an individual's blood pressure, and this is why high levels of cholesterol tend to be found in individuals with high blood pressure.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, and it puts individuals at serious risk of developing other medical conditions. Heart disease is a chronic condition in which a person's blood vessels have been inundated with cholesterol deposits. This puts them at high risk for heart attacks or blood clots that lead to a stroke.
On of the best ways to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol at a healthy level is by exercising regularly and maintaining a diet low in cholesterol. For individuals who already experience high blood pressure or cholesterol, a new class of prescription drugs known as statins has been shown to lower levels of both.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Trang Nguyen
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