Your Arteries and Cholesterol

The job of your arteries is to pump blood. The Dorsal Aorta or the main artery branches out into many smaller arteries. Each body system has arteries which are responsible for providing the oxygen rich blood that keeps us alive.

Too much cholesterol in the blood – especially bad cholesterol – prevents arteries from working their best. High levels of bad cholesterol may even prevent arteries from functioning at all, since cholesterol can actually lead to blockages in your arteries. For this reason, it is critical then that we keep arteries free of bad cholesterol for optimal health.

Arteries are constructed of a tough exterior and a soft, smooth interior. Each artery has three specific layers:

• The outer layer

• The middle (muscular) layer

• The inner layer.

Each are made up of epithelial cells. The middle layer is elastic and very strong. It helps pump the body’s blood. The inner layer is smooth and allows the blood to flow easily. As the heart beats, the arteries expand and are filled with blood.

The heart relaxes and produces enough force to push the blood through. In a healthy person, this system works effectively and the blood can carry oxygen and other essentials throughout the body.

Disease fills the arteries with fatty deposits and this becomes a dangerous obstacle to good health. High cholesterol levels fill arteries with thick substances that prevent your body from working well. Your heart becomes starved of required blood. If this happens often enough you can suffer a heart attack or a stroke.

The main cause behind heart disease is this thickening of the fatty deposits in the arteries, and the main reason behind the blocking of arteries is high levels of bad cholesterol. This means that if you want to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes, you need to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range.

Even having “borderline” cholesterol levels – or bad cholesterol levels that are elevated but not considered “very bad” – can increase your chances of heart disease or stroke. No matter what your current health, eating a better diet and getting exercise can help keep you healthy.

Consider: Heart disease is one of the leading killers in North America. Lowering your cholesterol levels through a heart-healthy diet and exercise regimen is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. Why wouldn’t you want to take the simple steps necessary to lower your cholesterol and enjoy a better and possibly longer life?

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