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Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: How They Affect Your Heart and Health

How cholesterol and blood pressure, which are two important things for your heart health, may affect your health and cholesterol. A short guide:

1. Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like thing that your body needs to make healthy cells¹. But, too much cholesterol can make your risk of heart disease higher¹. Cholesterol moves through your blood, stuck to proteins, making lipoproteins¹. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is called the “bad cholesterol,” because it makes the chance of heart problems higher¹. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, is called the “good cholesterol” because it lowers the chance¹.

2. Blood Pressure: High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of blood against your artery walls is too high¹. Over time, this can hurt your arteries and cause heart disease¹.

3. The Connection: High blood pressure and high cholesterol both hurt the inner layer of blood vessels, called the endothelium¹². Over time, this hurt makes cholesterol lumps and angry cells build up in the blood vessels all over the body, called atherosclerosis¹². This hurt also makes the blood vessels not work well, making them hard and narrow¹².

4. How Common: Almost half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, but only half of them have their blood pressure under control¹. Two-thirds of U.S. adults have high cholesterol, and only one-third of them have it under control¹.

5. How to Manage: Changing your habits is often the first thing to do to make both things better¹². A good diet, regular exercise, and sometimes pills can help make high cholesterol lower and control blood pressure¹².

In summary, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are both bad things that can cause heart disease and stroke. But, with changing your habits and medical help, they can be controlled well¹²³⁴.

(Note: This is a general guide and different people might need different things. Always talk to a doctor for advice that is right for you.)

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