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Atherosclerosis Prevention

High cholesterol is one of several atherosclerosis risk factors. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the blood. High cholesterol does not cause damage over days or weeks, but over years. Furthermore, high blood cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis. The arteries most affected by atherosclerosis are the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. This is one reason why heart disease and heart attacks are one of the effects of high cholesterol.
Several studies have looked at the effects of cholesterol treatment to prevent heart disease. These cholesterol research studies have shown that the progress of atherosclerosis may be stopped by reducing cholesterol intake. In some cases, it may even be reversed. This results in fewer people developing and dying from heart disease. It also lowers the number of people with heart disease who have another heart attack or die from heart disease.
You should have your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked (through a lipid panel test) at least once every five years. If your triglyceride or cholesterol levels are high, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower them. You may be able to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels by eating better and exercising more. Your doctor may prescribe cholesterol medication to help lower cholesterol.
(Click Lowering Cholesterol for more information.)
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is another risk factor for atherosclerosis. About 50 million American adults have high blood pressure.
The top number of a blood pressure reading, called the systolic pressure, represents the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats. The bottom number, called diastolic pressure, is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart relaxes between beats. High blood pressure makes the heart work extra hard and hardens artery walls, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or higher is considered high. Recently, new guidelines set a new "prehypertension" level of any reading above 120/80 mmHg.
People with high blood pressure often have no high blood pressure symptoms, so have your blood pressure checked every one to two years. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest you make some lifestyle changes, such as eating less salt (see DASH Diet) and exercising more. Your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure medicine to help lower blood pressure.
(Click Lowering Blood Pressure for more information on how to lower your blood pressure.)
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Atherosclerosis Disease

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