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When there is too much cholesterol in the blood stream, it can be deposited in your arteries, causing plaque build-up that can make it difficult for your blood to flow. This causes strain on your heart and can lead to chest pains (angina), difficulty breathings and eventual heart attack.

What causes high cholesterol?

Eating foods that are high in fat, such as chips and cookies, fried foods, and fast food can increase your cholesterol level. Also, inactivity and being overweight can be a factor, along with smoking. A family history of heart disease is usually a sign that your cholesterol processing is not normal and is likely the reason that “heart trouble runs in your family.” Additionally certain medication can also elevate your cholesterol levels and should be discussed with a doctor.

If I had high cholesterol would I feel any symptoms?

You would not feel any symptoms, so it’s important to have a simple blood test during an annual physical to determine your cholesterol levels.

What can I do to maintain healthy cholesterol levels?

Being active and getting exercise several times a week while maintaining a healthy diet that’s low in fat and processed foods is a great plan for healthier living, including lowering your cholesterol levels. Also, smoking can accelerate the damage to your arteries, so the sooner you quit smoking, the better it is for your overall health. If you do have family history of heart trouble, chances are that you will also need medication to control cholesterol. Your doctor can specifically discuss this situation with you.

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