What does cholesterol have to do with heart disease?
The Framingham Heart Study established that high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). Results of the Framingham study showed that the higher the cholesterol level, the greater the CHD risk. On the other end of the spectrum, CHD is uncommon at total cholesterol levels below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). A direct link between high blood cholesterol and CHD has been confirmed by the Lipid Research Clinics-Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (1984) which showed that lowering total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels significantly reduces CHD. A series of more recent trials of cholesterol lowering using statin drugs have demonstrated conclusively that lowering total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol reduces the chance of having a heart attack, needing bypass surgery or angioplasty, and dying of CHD-related causes.
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In addition to high cholesterol, there are other risk factors that can increase your chance of developing heart disease. To learn more about risk factors, click below.