The importance of cholesterol to human life cannot be underestimated. As a primary constituent of human cell membranes, cholesterol is essential to memory and learning and serves as the fundamental building block of Vitamin D, bile acids, and the steroid hormones. However, while cholesterol is quite important, scientists do not consider it an essential nutrient. This is due to the fact that the human body naturally synthesizes all the cholesterol it requires.
In fact, several studies suggest that high cholesterol contributes to diseases in the blood vessel, which in turn leads to strokes.
In the early 1990s, both controlled trials of drugs known to lower cholesterol and epidemiological studies did not generate substantial evidence that could associate the risk of strokes and cholesterol levels.
Today, there is more proof of the fact that increased cholesterol levels can be harmful to the point of causing a stroke. Recently reports have emerged attesting that cholesterol-lowering drugs actually lower the chances that a patient could have a stroke. Not to mention that women who have high-cholesterol levels stand the risk of having a stroke regardless of how healthy they seem.
This connection between high cholesterol levels and stroke is also noted by the American Heart Association as it now lists “reducing the risk of stroke” as a good reason to avoid foods rich in cholesterol. Research conducted over the last couple of years has outclassed many methodological flaws of the earlier research from decades ago thus allowing us to understand that cholesterol levels are certainly related to strokes—while increasing the risk of certain stroke forms, it may also decrease the risk of others.
If you have High Cholesterol, here are some facts you should about stroke:
- Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the United States and other developed countries.
- There are two kinds of stroke: The ischemic strokes and the hemorrhagic stroke. The ischemic stroke happens as a result of blockage of the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. On the other hand, the more damaging hemorrhagic stroke happens when a blood vessel is ruptured.
- With an increase in cholesterol levels, the chances that a person would be susceptible to hemorrhagic stroke is comparatively lower than the chances that they would have ischemic strokes.
- The chances that a person would die from a stroke caused due to cholesterol levels are lowest if their cholesterol levels fall between 180 and 200. However, these chances increase substantially when the cholesterol levels fall below 180 or above 240. Cholesterol-related stroke mortality is highest when levels are lower than 160 and higher than 300.
- High blood pressure is more likely to cause a stroke than low or high cholesterol levels.
- While cholesterol does not directly cause a stroke, eating diets low in antioxidants and high in polyunsaturated fat can cause the LDL-cholesterol in our blood to become vulnerable to oxidation. This by extension leads to a stroke.
- Fatty fish and animal fat can help lower the risk of a stroke.
- Carbohydrates and Polyunsaturated fat are associated with the greater risk of a stroke.
- Stress management, exercise, proper control of systemic or oral infections, as well as adequate nutrition can reduce the risk of a stroke.