Will High Cholesterol Kill You or Not?

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Heart disease

If the plaque builds up the coronary artery, this can make it harder for the blood to flow to the heart – and your heart will not get enough blood and oxygen. As a result, your heart will work harder to compensate this deficiency. This will also gradually damage and weaken your heart.

The thick, hard plaque from fat and cholesterol can block your coronary artery like a blocked pipe. If it completely blocks your coronary artery, you can have a heart attack.


Another common complication associated with hypercholesterolemia is stroke, which is also one of top ten leading causes of death. The plaque can build up in the artery that carries the blood to the brain, preventing your brain from getting enough oxygen and nutrients. And if a clogged artery, a condition in which the blood flow is significantly blocked, occurs in there – you can have a stroke.

The risk of gallstones

Gallstones are hardened buildups from digestive fluid called bile. Typically, they form in the gallbladder (a pear-shaped, small organ located beneath the liver – on the right side of the abdomen).

The bile is naturally designed to contain enough chemicals to dissolve cholesterol. But if you have high cholesterol, there will be more cholesterol (higher than normal) than your bile can dissolve. And excess cholesterol may turn into crystals and stones. In fact, about 80 % of gallstones are derived from cholesterol stones – according to NDDIC (the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse).

And poorly-treated gallstones pose the risk of some serious complications such as inflammation or even cancer of gallbladder.

What else?

The plaque can build up elsewhere in the body.

  1. Peripheral arterial disease. For example, if the blood supply to the limbs is affected, this can lead to numbness or pain, and also increase the risk of infection.
  2. The plaque may also build up in the blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys and stomach. This can lead to renal hypertension and intestinal ischemic syndrome.

High cholesterol could cause problems throughout the body, depending on where the plaque occurs. It will not kill you today or tomorrow, because the effect can take years to develop. But it will cause a terrible cost down the road if you don’t do something about it!

Citations /references:

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/summer12/articles/summer12pg6-7.html


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