How does Cholesterol Affect Arteries (Atherosclerosis)?

Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis

Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice.

Cholesterol, which is considered to be “bad”, moves through the body as part of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). LDL molecules are large and less dense, so they can carry many cholesterol molecules. They provide the body's need for building new cells, for synthesizing hormones, for maintaining a good condition of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. If necessary, LDL fixes the damage in the blood vessel walls.

What is “good” cholesterol doing? This is excess cholesterol that is transported to the liver and eliminated into the bile. It is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL) molecules, which are small and dense. In fact, they contain low amounts of cholesterol. It turns out that the whole effect of being "good" cholesterol lies in its elimination from the body.

Which type does bring more benefits: "good" or "bad" cholesterol? In fact, there are no good or bad variations. But what about atherosclerosis and plaques?

Cholesterol and Artery Plaque Buildup

As long as the vessel wall is undamaged, no cholesterol plaque is formed. And only if the vascular endothelium is affected for some reason, the immune cells will start restorative work and use LDL. This implies that atherosclerosis development depends more on the condition of artery walls rather than the level of cholesterol in the blood. However, this does not mean that there is no need to fight high cholesterol with various drugs, including statins.

Statins are not prescribed to people without atherosclerotic plaques, certain cardiovascular diseases, very high cholesterol levels or serious risk factors.

Diagnostic testing at Lake Conway can help to determine the presence of these forms of diseases. The doctor will prescribe complete cholesterol tests, which measure the level and fraction of cholesterol in dynamics and check the vessels' condition. Only based on these data, the doctor will provide treatment.

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