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Complications Associated with High Cholesterol

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There are many conditions that can result from or can even be caused by high cholesterol. Here are four of the main medical conditions associated with elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and high total cholesterol levels.

Heart Disease
Heart disease is the most common problem caused by high cholesterol. When levels are elevated, cholesterol becomes thick and sticks along the walls of the arteries. Like a highway suddenly filling up with too many cars, the arteries become clogged and there is nowhere left for blood to go. Oxygen rich blood cannot flow easily to the heart and results in the hardening of artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

A stroke occurs when inadequate blood flow causes the sudden death of a portion of brain cells. For people with high cholesterol, a build up on the artery walls can contribute to this. High cholesterol also increases the chances of developing heart disease and atherosclerosis (hardening of artery walls), two additional risk factors for stroke.

High Blood Pressure
For many people, high blood pressure and high cholesterol go hand in hand. High blood pressure occurs when the body reaches a level of 140/90 mmHg or above. As a result of excess pressure, arteries are pushed on and restricted. This makes the channel for blood flow compress and can lead to blockages and buildup of cholesterol along artery walls.

People with diabetes are more likely to develop high cholesterol. Vision disturbances, macular edema specifically, have been found in diabetic patients who had both diabetes and high cholesterol. The risk of heart and kidney disease is also elevated.