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Lower Cholesterol Or Risk Death

Aug 18, 2007
Seemingly in excellent health, Beth goes to the doctor for her regular checkup. In the past year, she has lost weight, begun an exercise routine, and finally landed her dream job. Life is good! During the checkup, Beth tests all come out great, except one. She has high cholesterol. Since the other tests look good, Beth is not overly concerned. Unfortunately, her "put off until tomorrow" attitude is her final, and fatal mistake. At the age of 57, Beth dies.

Although the name has been changed, and a few irrelevant details omitted, the circumstances are true. If a patient is diagnosed with high cholesterol, especially above 240 mg/dL, he/she is 50% more likely to have a life cut short unnecessarily. Thus, lowering high cholesterol is paramount. The risks of suffering from a debilitating illness, or leaving life behind prematurely are simply not worth the gamble.

First, people with high cholesterol are daring a heart attack to strike. Many individuals, like Beth, die before paramedics or doctors can administer possible life-saving medical aid. For the person who is lucky/unlucky enough to survive, the future is no picnic. Usually, blocked arteries have to be replaced, in order for the heart to have a chance to function properly. Thus, the doctors have to pull the breastbone apart to perform open-heart surgery.

Question: Where will the replacement artery come from? Answer: The doctors need to take a long vein from the patient's leg. Now, after suffering a heart attack, the patient also has to recover from a lengthy incision in the leg, and the process of healing bone and tissue from cracking the ribcage and invading the heart. Not fun! The healing process is lengthy, and many people do not regain 100% of pre-attack abilities. For the people who may still feel invincible, consider an alternative possibility.

The second possibility is a stroke. When most people contemplate a stroke, older senior citizens come to mind. However, anyone with dangerously high cholesterol levels is a prime candidate for a stroke. To explain, think of arteries as highways and blood as the car. High cholesterol leaves fatty deposits in the bloodstream. The resulting plaque adheres to the artery walls, much like plaque sticking to teeth. However, as plaque builds up, the roadway for the blood gets clogged, basically causing a physical traffic jam. If an sufficient amount of blood cannot continue on the journey to the brain, an individual suffers a stroke. Thus, any adult with high cholesterol can die, or become severely disabled.

Knowing someone who has survived a stroke is a real wake up call. While some people die, many people technically live, although a stroke can render an individual into a vegetative state. Most people are unable to move on one side of the body, speak without slurring, are unable to swallow-and drool as a result, unable to communicate, and an innumerable combination of other disabilities. Sometimes, with therapy, a person can regain physical abilities torn away by the stroke. However, most people have lingering and permanent effects to contend with throughout life. Also, the process to reach an individual's full recovery potential can take years, is extremely costly, and terribly frustrating.

Hopefully, by now the reality regarding the importance of lowering high cholesterol is becoming scarily apparent. If not, consider the effects dying, or suffering a debilitating stroke, will have on loved ones. Children will grow up without a parent; parents will miss monumental milestones in a child's life. Grandchildren will have to depend on pictures and memories to know a grandma or grandpa. Friends will mourn the loss, and gather to reminisce, until life moves on, and the memory is delegated to the anniversaries of special events, or a trip down memory lane.

Instead, make the effort to stick around and remain more than a melancholy memory. Finally, do not risk leaving friends and family the responsibility of taking care of a disabled loved one, when medical science can prevent a catastrophe from happening in the first place.

Scared? Good! If the diagnosis is high cholesterol, do something! If the levels are dangerously high, the doctor will probably prescribe medication, in addition to the necessary lifestyle changes. Do not put off until tomorrow, what needs done today. Do not invite a heart attack or stroke. Instead, do everything possible to stay healthy and vibrant. Life is too precious to lose prematurely. Friends and family do not want to mourn a loss, or be responsible for rehabilitative care. Do not become a memory; stay an active and loving presence.
About the Author
Erol Orderland writes about various subjects including health matters and cholesterol. For more information about lowering cholesterol visit the Cholesterol and Heart Disease section or the High Cholesterol website.
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