For nearly 60 years, doctors have known about the link between cholesterol and heart disease.

The consequences of high cholesterol can be serious. Most notably, high cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease -- there is wide agreement in the medical community on this point. The relationship was first underscored by the pioneering Framingham Heart Study.

Since 1948, that study has monitored 5,209 men and women for the development of coronary heart disease. Data from this and other studies were joined in a report, which showed that the risk for coronary heart disease increases as blood-cholesterol level rises, especially as it rises past 200 mg/dL.

These high levels of blood cholesterol directly contribute to atherosclerosis and heart attack. Low HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides are also factors of the metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

We'll start out taking a look at the more high-profile condition. The next page describes the series of events that start with atherosclerosis and can end in a heart attack.

  • Cholesterol Levels: We all know there's "good" and "bad" cholesterol. Find out why you need more of one kind of cholesterol and less of the other.
  • Causes of High Cholesterol: Diet and DNA are the main causes of high cholesterol. Learn why the numbers might be high in your case.
  • How to Lower Cholesterol: Like many conditions, eating right and exercising can help control cholesterol. Learn what that means for you.
  • How Cholesterol Works: Cholesterol is essential for the body. Find out why we need it and how much is too much.
  • Understanding a Heart Attack: Heart attack is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. Find out what happens in a heart attack.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.