Will treatment affect my risk for heart disease and stroke?

By: Bobbie Hasselbring

Reducing your blood cholesterol can make a major difference in your risk for coronary heart disease, called CHD. Research has shown that you get a 2-to-1 outcome for your efforts. For every 1% reduction in total blood cholesterol, you get a 2% reduction in risk for heart attack.


Treating All Risk Factors

The overall impact on your health depends in part on your other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. These include your age and whether you smoke or are overweight or inactive. Other risk factors include whether you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease. If you control your cholesterol but ignore other risk factors, your risk may be lower than it was, but still too high. So it's important to work on your cholesterol levels as well as any other risk factors you can alter.

Treating Plaque Buildup

Plaque buildup in your arteries affects your treatment and risk for heart disease and stroke. The more serious your condition is when you start treatment, the more key treatment is to prevent heart attack and stroke. By lowering your blood cholesterol, you can help prevent further plaque buildup. Lower cholesterol, though, may not get rid of plaque that's already there. So treatment to lower cholesterol does not completely eliminate your risk. Your arteries may already be narrowed enough to cause chest pain called angina or other health problems. If so, your doctor may need to prescribe other treatment.