How does high cholesterol increase heart attack and stroke risk?

How can high cholesterol increase the risk of heart attack and the risk of stroke?

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high cholesterol person
high cholesterol person


Cholesterol is a lipid that is high in fat in your blood. Your body makes some cholesterol. The rest comes from the food you eat. Red meat, high-fat dairy products, and baked goods are often high in cholesterol.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form a sticky blockage called plaque. The plaque narrows the arteries, allowing less blood to flow to them.

When plaque breaks down, blood clots can form. These particles can travel to the heart or brain and cause heart disease or stroke.


Having high cholesterol increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Blood thinners are one way to prevent clots from forming. Your doctor may prescribe one of these medications if you also have atrial fibrillation.

Normal cholesterol levels are below 200 mg / dL. The ideal level of LDL cholesterol is less than 100 mg / dL. LDL cholesterol is an unhealthy type that builds up plaque in the arteries.

If your numbers are high, you can make these lifestyle changes to help lower them:

  • Reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol in your diet.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, fish, and whole grains.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds [5 to 10 kg] can help lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Do aerobic exercises such as cycling or walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day.
  • Stop smoking.

If you have tried to make these changes and your cholesterol is high, your doctor may prescribe statins or other medications to reduce it.
Follow your treatment plan closely to protect your blood vessels and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Blood Thinner, Blood Pressure Drugs May Improve Survival Levels In COVID-19

  • Researchers are looking at why the new coronavirus appears to affect the heart and respiratory systems.
  • One study concluded that antihypertensive drugs may help with survival rates among people with COVID-19.
  • One study suggests that blood thinners may help reduce the severity of side effects among people with COVID-19.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus center and follow our live updates page for the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 epidemic.

While COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, a new coronavirus that causes it appears to affect the cardiovascular system.

Previously, researchers found that most people with COVID-19 already had fewer blood clots throughout their bodies, including their lungs.

In addition, some people, including professional athletes, have been diagnosed with COVID-19-related myocarditis.

The full picture of how this respiratory virus affects the cardiovascular system remains to be seen.

But over the past few months, researchers have already discovered several ways that the new coronavirus can affect blood and heart.

And the findings may shed light on treatment or general prevention measures.

The latest findings come in two studies published this week.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom have concluded that people who take certain medications for the high blood pressure may have a lower risk of serious illness or death due to COVID-19.

And at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York, researchers are finding additional evidence that drugs that help control blood clots can improve the survival of people with COVID-19.

Both findings are based solely on observation and require further research, but emphasize the extent to which cardiovascular issues and COVID-19 appear to be bound together.

Blood types and COVID-19

Some of how the heart and blood issues are thought to be related to COVID-19 have proved to be incorrect.

Earlier, for example, reports from Wuhan, China, suggested that people with certain blood types may have serious complications from the virus.

A Trusted Source study released last month by researchers at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts looked at those ideas and wasted a lot of time.

“It’s like putting this thing on a blood type,” Drs. Anahita Dua, MBA, lead author of Harvard research and assistant professor of surgery and orthopedic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Healthline.

Effects of blood pressure medications

Another link suggested that ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, both drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure, may have adverse effects on people with COVID-19.

“This is related to allowing more coronaviruses to enter cells,” Vassilios Vassiliou, Ph.D., MA, MBBS, a fellow professor of cardiology at the University of East Anglia, told Healthline.

Their research released this week on these drugs looks at the question.

“Our study can say without a doubt that these drugs are safe from COVID-19,” said Vassiliou, a former lead researcher for the study.

In addition, researchers have identified the potential benefits of a particular group of patients.

People who had COVID-19 but were taking these medications to treat high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, had a 33 percent drop in serious side effects from COVID-19, such as in the intensive care unit, in need of ventilation, or dying.

“One message to go home is that if you are given such a drug in any of the lower health conditions, you should continue to take it,” Vassiliou said.

How blood thinners can help

The most common way to treat or prevent them is with anti-inflammatory drugs that help prevent the blood from clotting too much.

a new study this week, they are continuing the details and potential benefits of such treatment.

The researchers concluded that both people taking high doses of anticoagulants and those taking low doses had a 50 percent higher chance of survival and a 30 percent lower chance of needing invasive air intake than those without anticoagulants.

“Surprisingly it is clear that this is an observational study, so there are environmental limitations there, and we need to be very careful not to avoid it in moderation, and the results need to be confirmed in clinical trials,” said Drs. Anu. Lala-Trindade, assistant professor of medicine and director of heart failure research at Mount Sinai.

Lala-Trindade, one of the authors of the new study, told Healthline that clinical trials are ongoing internationally, including Mount Sinai.

How research can be used

These are just some of the questions that researchers have begun to answer about how the new coronavirus works and how they can reduce its effects.

But looking at the heart and blood vessels of the virus has helped them to reduce those questions.

“Everyone wants to know how to eradicate the disease in these patients, how to know who will spread the disease,” said Dua. “If you have a serious illness, you are in for a shock. Well, what are the comorbidities? “

Researchers hope to look into questions about blood type or what high blood pressure medications you are taking, or how often you have a fracture.

They would also like to focus on why people often have clots or bleeding.

One of the next major waves of research that Dua sees looks at the formation and effects of small blood clots.

blood thinners

“Why does that happen again if it’s something we can intervene in and is that something we can stop?” explained.

“Maybe it’s as simple as putting patients in blood thinners when they walk in the door, or maybe we need to think more about what blood drugs are and what causes them to fail,” Dua said.

“And we need to think about why.… Blood and clotting element – we still laugh at the details there. Knowing why these clots occur can give us a better idea of ​​what COVID-19 is and how it works.

“As a heart community, we are still amazed at how (the virus) causes heart problems. We know from various reports that cardiovascular disease is very common in COVID-19… But its role in leading to such problems is unclear, ”said Dua.

Dua says that the virus may be a direct cause, or that cardiovascular problems may be indirectly due to the “inflammation” caused by the body’s activation during illness.

“When we get the second wave, we are ready for questions now,” Dua said. “From the beginning of this disease until now, how much we have got, (the knowledge) we have is amazing.”

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