Heart Disease and Cholesterol
Cholesterol, a fatty, wax-like substance in our bloodstream, plays an important role in heart disease, a leading cause of death in men and women. Cholesterol is beneficial to the body, as it helps make our cells and is used to produce hormones, which control many body systems.
Cholesterol can enter the bloodstream in two ways. One is through dietary ingestion, primarily in the form of saturated fat. The second way is through production of cholesterol by the liver, which may be influenced by inherited factors. The liver can also remove cholesterol from the blood, but this is inhibited by a high fat diet. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it works its way into the artery wall, causing blockages in coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries build up with cholesterol, the plaque can rupture, leading to a heart attack or angina.