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"Can LDL cholesterol cause a heart attack?"


I have high cholesterol. I am trying to get better. I've started eating a lot of spinich. Can I still have a heart attack? I am a 38 year old woman with two children.


Low-density liopoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, is a key part of the formation of plaques in arteries. High concentrations of LDL cholesterol are associated with increased plaque formation in the arteries, and it is these plaques that can narrow arteries or rupture and cause heart attacks and strokes. The LDL cholesterol oxidizes and helps set up inflammatory pathways that can trigger the rapid formation of clot, which can cut off blood flow downstream and cause a heart attack.

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Generally speaking the higher the concentrations of LDL the higher the risk for cardiovascular events such as heart attacks. You should try to cut down meat consumption, especially red or processed meat, but there are plenty of non-meat foods that you should also be careful of. In general saturated fat and cholesterol travel together; Here is a list of foods you should attempt to limit: egg yolks, cheese, ice cream, store-bought baked goods, and foods high in trans fats (not the same as cholesterol, but very bad for your heart health). You should increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and lean meats like fish and poultry. Depending on your cholesterol levels your doctors may prescribe additional medications such as statins to help further lower your levels. Your primary care physician or cardiologist can best discuss your diet to help you meet your goals. Good luck!

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