Did you know?
The risk for a future cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke, is higher after the first event. A healthy lifestyle and following your doctor’s recommendations for ongoing care will help.
Hey, I’m John! You guessed it…
I’ve had 2 heart attacks, both likely caused by high LDL or “bad” cholesterol and my lifestyle. It’s been quite the rollercoaster figuring out how it’s all related. I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol after my first heart attack and always found it pretty difficult to understand. Over the years, I’ve learned so much more about it, and how it can affect your whole life. Want to hear more from me? Watch to hear a bit more about my story.
Understanding LDL-C and heart attack
Normally, blood flows smoothly through your arteries and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your organs, including your heart.
However, your arteries can become clogged by fatty deposits, called “plaques”, that are made up of fatty substances, LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), calcium and other substances on the inner lining of the artery. This can cause your arteries to harden, narrow and even block the path for oxygen and nutrients. When this happens, it’s called atherosclerosis, or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).
Atherosclerosis can happen anywhere, including in the blood vessels of your heart, where it can cause coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack.
A number of factors can cause the artery damage that leads to atherosclerosis.
One key factor that contributes to plaque formation is elevated LDL-C, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol.
In order to determine whether you’re at risk for atherosclerosis, your doctor may recommend blood tests to measure cholesterol and triglycerides, otherwise known as lipids.
A STUDY OBSERVED THAT THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT RISK FACTORS FOR A HEART ATTACK WORLDWIDE WERE SMOKING AND ABNORMAL LIPIDS
Heart attack risk factors
* Psychosocial factors include depression, locus of control, perceived stress and life events.
† Abnormal lipids = High ApoB/ApoA-1 ratio.
So, what number should you aim for?
Your LDL-C number is part of a calculation that provides information about your heart attack risk.
A lower calculated number is associated with a lower estimated risk of having a cardiovascular event. Talk to your doctor about the number you should be aiming for.
Make the commitment to lowering your risk.
Ask your doctor for an LDL-C blood test today.
Here are some questions you can ask your doctor at your next appointment.
- What is my most recent LDL-C level?
- What should my LDL-C level be?
- How has my LDL-C level changed since my last appointment?
- How do my current LDL-C levels affect my risk for experiencing another heart attack?
- What else can I do to lower my LDL-C?
- How often should I have my LDL-C checked?
- At what point might we need to discuss changing my treatment regimen?