What are the Consequences of High Cholesterol?

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Summary & Participants

Learn the basics of high cholesterol, and its consequences on the cardiovascular system.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2012

Webcast Transcript

ANNOUNCER: Most people are aware that there are different types of cholesterol, but many don't know about the serious consequences surrounding high levels of LDL.

NANETTE KASS-WENGER, MD: High cholesterol—and here I would like to talk about high bad cholesterol, or LDL, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol—means that there is deposition of this fat in the arteries. In the arteries of the heart, in the arteries of the brain, all through the body, in the arteries of the kidney. And the consequences can be what we call atherosclerosis, meaning a narrowing and a deposition of cholesterol and all the fibrous tissue that goes in there.

SPENCER B. KING, III, MD: The consequences are that heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, blocked arteries in the legs and so forth, can occur. Cholesterol has multiple components. Some parts of cholesterol are more dangerous than others. Some parts of the cholesterol, the HDL, the high-density lipoprotein, is actually somewhat protective, and parts of that are even more protective.

On the other hand, the low-density lipoproteins are the ones that we really worry about. And when we talk about high cholesterol, we're really more worried about the high level of the LDL, the low-density lipoprotein. That is the one that is most dangerous for the progression of artery disease.