Cardiovascular disease is the number-one killer of women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Each year, more women die from cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack and stroke, than all forms of cancer combined. And over the past twenty-five years, it’s claimed the lives of more women than men.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with high cholesterol – a major risk factor contributing to the development of cardiovascular disease. Like most women, I didn’t think having high cholesterol was serious at first. My weight was average, and I’d been living a healthy lifestyle and eating the right foods. I felt fine; how could anything be wrong?
Prevent heart attack, stroke:
A certain amount of cholesterol is necessary for good health. The liver produces about 75% of the body’s cholesterol needs and the rest is supplied from food. But because cholesterol is waxy, it doesn’t dissolve and must be transported through the bloodstream by lipoproteins. When there’s not enough high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is believed to transport cholesterol out of the body, and too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol sticks to the artery walls. Eventually, plaque forms and begins to build, restricting the flow of blood to the heart and brain. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Luckily, of all the risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol is one of the most controllable. Many times, diet and exercise are all that’s needed. A combination of treatments, including diet, exercise and medications may also be prescribed. My doctor has determined that diet and exercise, along with certain supplements, may be all that’s necessary for me.