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Risk Factors – High Cholesterol

June 7, 2019
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Transcript

Next: high cholesterol. So high cholesterol is associated with stroke and generally speaking, we follow the national guidelines for stroke prevention or in primary prevention. This means if you've never had a stroke before, never had a heart attack before, there are national guidelines on what your cholesterol should be. And it's sort of, it's based on how many other risk factors you have. If you've had a stroke in the past or a TIA, then the goal automatically becomes a lower and more aggressive. I would point out that generally speaking, statins and there are many statins out on the market. These are really, really good drugs. They seem to have multiple beneficial effects with respect to stroke prevention. First of all, they lower the cholesterol. And when we're looking at the cholesterol, we're looking at a specific part of the cholesterol. This is one the total cholesterol and then the LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. And we want that to be as low as possible. Preferably blow 100 and in some cases even lower than that. And statins are very effective at controlling that better often than diet and exercise, although diet and exercise for cholesterol control are also very important. The statins have an extra benefit though, and it's probably the fact that they work as anti-inflammatories along the vessel wall. So you can imagine things like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. They cause injury to the vessel wall. And when that injury happens, you get inflammation in the vessel wall and that's what causes plaques to occur and narrowing of the arteries. And so we think that statins help prevent some of that inflammation from occurring and prevent that plaque from forming in the first place, which we know is a cause for stroke and actually heart disease as well.

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