Relation Between Between High Blood Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Studies regarding human beings as well as animals show a strong association between high cholesterol and atherosclerosis or heart disease. A Researcher first noticed the connection among rabbits. This was followed by studies of monkeys which clearly showed the direct relationship between cholesterol and saturated fat in our diet, cholesterol level in the blood and the development of atherosclerosis.
In one of the studies a group of monkeys was fed with a diet rich in total fat, cholesterol and saturated fat. On the other hand another group was fed a careful, balanced diet low in fat. The animals on the rich diet exhibited higher levels of blood cholesterol and more atherosclerosis in their coronary arteries as compared to the ones on the balanced diet.
Even studies involving humans have confirmed the connection between high blood-cholesterol, diet high in saturated fat and increased risk of atherosclerosis. In the early sixties medical research determined that all countries did not have the same amount of atherosclerosis in their population. Countries with most heart disease cases had higher blood cholesterol levels and consumed more fat than countries with a lower rate of heart disease.
One of the major studies in the nineteen eighties found a rather strong relationship between death rate due to coronary heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels.
The rigorous study spread over six years followed approximately Three Hundred and sixty one thousand men aged between thirty-five and fifty-seven with no history of heart attack. It was found that:
- The risk of death from coronary heart disease increases gradually at blood cholesterol levels of 180mg/dL
- Speeds at about 200mg/dL
- Doubles at about 220mg/dL
- And increases three times at about 245mg/dL.
In this study the bad effects of high cholesterol were separated from other major risk factors which included cigarette smoking and high blood pressure. This helped to prove that at least in middle aged men cholesterol by itself is a risk factor for atherosclerosis.
Another heart study found that:
- At any given age, for every one percent increase in blood cholesterol the rate of heart attack rose by two percent starting at about 200mg/dL.
- There was ten percent risk of coronary artery disease when people had blood cholesterol levels of 200mg/dL or lower.
- People faced eighteen percent risk when their levels were 240mg/dL or higher.
- It simply means that one person among ten with cholesterol lower than 200mg/dL; and about two people among ten with cholesterol higher than 240mg/dL can develop heart disease.
- HDL Cholesterol: Safe Levels of HDL, Uses of HDL Cholesterol
- Atherosclerosis: Will Lowering of Cholesterol Help Avoid Heart Attack