Cholesterol and Stroke

Topic Overview

Cholesterol is a waxy substance necessary for all living tissue. The body manufactures most of the cholesterol it needs. Additional cholesterol is taken in from certain foods we eat.

Too much cholesterol in the blood is not healthy, because it can build up in the walls of arteries, causing the blood vessels to narrow (atherosclerosis). Narrowed blood vessels carry less blood and may increase a person's risk for a stroke or heart attack.

The goal in treating cholesterol is to lower your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. The goal is not to lower your cholesterol numbers alone. You can lower your risk by making lifestyle changes. These are important for everyone. You and your doctor can work together to understand what your risks are and what treatment is best for you. Your doctor may recommend that you take statins if the benefits outweigh the risks.

If you have already had a TIA or a stroke, your doctor will likely recommend a statin to help prevent another stroke.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Karin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology
Current as of March 12, 2014

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