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P750-A 7 Steps to a Healthy Heart

STEP 3 12 What is Cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally produced and stored in the liver. It’s in the cells of your brain, muscles, skin, heart, and everywhere else that your blood flows. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally, but you only need a small amount in your bloodstream. If you have too much blood cholesterol, your body stores extra cholesterol in your arteries, including the coronary (heart) arteries. Cholesterol build-up narrows and clogs the arteries, resulting in heart disease. The higher your cholesterol level, the greater your risk for heart disease. Do you know your cholesterol levels? You should. Monitoring your cholesterol is extremely important, because high blood cholesterol can lead to coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death among African Americans. Control Your Cholesterol What is Coronary Heart Disease? Your blood carries oxygen and nutrients to your heart through muscular tubes called coronary arteries. Like your kitchen sink, these arteries can become narrowed or clogged by cholesterol and fat deposits, which is known as atherosclerosis. The result is coronary heart disease. If you have coronary heart disease, you may experience chest pain called angina when too little blood is reaching your heart. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of your heart is completely blocked. Atherosclerosis and hypertension can also lead to a stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain gets clogged or ruptures. This is a “brain attack.” Other risks from coronary heart disease include poor circulation in the legs, or peripheral vascular disease (PAD), and kidney failure.


P750-A 7 Steps to a Healthy Heart
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