Complications

While there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, it can lead to serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and other heart-related diseases. This is because high cholesterol can narrow or block your arteries due to plaque buildup. But simple steps like eating healthy and getting exercise can help keep cholesterol down and prevent these complications.

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Having high cholesterol can lead to the buildup of plaque in artery walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. It can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), and peripheral arterial disease.

Atherosclerosis can cause these problems because it:

Narrows your arteries.

  • When enough plaque builds up, it starts to narrow your arteries. This happens slowly over many years. In time, the plaque can limit blood flow throughout your body, including the heart and brain.

Hardens your arteries.

  • A healthy artery can widen (dilate) so that more blood can flow through when needed, such as during activity. When hard plaque forms in the walls of an artery, it can make the artery too stiff to widen. This "hardening" of your arteries can also limit blood flow in your body.

Blocks your arteries.

  • When a blood clot forms around a crack or rupture in the plaque, it can block the artery. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.

©2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Causes & Risk Factors

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Prevention

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Management

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Causes & Risk Factors

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Prevention

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Management

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