What Health Problems Can High Cholesterol Cause
If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture . This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.
Plaque also can build up in other arteries in your body, including the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your brain and limbs. This can lead to problems such as carotid artery disease, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
Who Should Be Tested
Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:
- have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
- are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
- have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
- have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
- are overweight or obese
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
Liver Disease And Its Causes
We all know that the liver plays an important role in our body as a part of our digestive system. The liver is also considered the largest organ inside the human body, and it does not just metabolize chemicals. It also helps in developing immunity and removing toxins from our bodies. As part of the digestive system, the liver takes part in controlling various gastrointestinal functions that help you stay healthy and functional. Damage in your liver may result in digestive issues and can even lead to problems and disorders.
Cannabis has been known to contribute to improving the way of living of many people however, if not consumed and used properly, it can lead to issues. Marijuana and the liver are related and connected to each other because of the substances effect on liver functions. Liver problems such as FLD or fatty liver disease and cirrhosis can be brought about by drug and alcohol abuse, toxins, and an unhealthy food intake. Those issues differ from the hepatitis infections since they are mostly viral.
The signs and symptoms of a failing or a problematic liver may vary, but the most common ones are the swelling, and the yellowing of the eyes or skin, referred to as jaundice. Liver damage due to marijuana commonly includes extensive swelling of the abdomen and extremities, rases, changed color of the urine and stool output, and jaundice. Laboratory tests and blood works can greatly help in the diagnosis of liver disease.
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The Smoking And Cholesterol Connection
Smoking damages your bodys arteries and blood vessels. This increases your risk for plaque buildup. It also reduces the amount of high-density lipoproteins the good cholesterol in your blood. This is a problem because HDLs absorb cholesterol and carry it back to the liver, where it is flushed from the body. High levels of HDLs in the blood protect against .
Experts estimate that if you smoke, you have a 2 to 4 times greater chance of developing heart disease than if you don’t smoke. The risk is even greater if you smoke and struggle with high cholesterol. Three risk factors such as smoking, having , and having a family history of heart disease increase your risk for heart disease tenfold.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol
If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. If you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.
Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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Cannabis To Promote Less Drinking
Indeed, cannabis or marijuana can help you decrease alcohol intake provided that you still have a healthy liver, and the cannabis intake is done more orally. This is because cannabis, when ingested, can release compounds into the digestive tract with effects that can help you restrain alcohol until it is fully metabolized and absorbed into your bloodstream.
Smoking And Cardiovascular Disease
The American Heart Association says diseases caused by smoking kill more than 440,000 people in the U.S. each year. Most new smokers are children and teens. Smokers have higher risk for lung disease. This includes lung cancer and emphysema. They also have increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
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Can Quitting Smoking Improve My Heart Health
The best way to safeguard your heart from smoking-related disease and death is to never start using cigarettes. But if you do smoke cigarettes, the earlier you can quit, the better. Quitting smoking benefits your heart and cardiovascular system now and in the future:
- Twenty minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate drops.8
- Just 12 hours after quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal, allowing more oxygen to vital organs like your heart.8
- Within four years of quitting, your risk of stroke drops to that of lifetime nonsmokers.9
It Can Relieve Your Pain
Marijuana is often used as a source of pain relief, as you can get a medical card for it to treat issues like cancer or inflammation. German researchers found that marijuana-based remedies increased the number of people who reported a 50% or more reduction in pain relief, says WebMD. In a small study of 47 patients with Parkinsons disease, Israeli researchers found a 27% improvement in pain with marijuana use.
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Could Marijuana Soon Be Legal Across The Us
Thats because the same liver enzymes that break down statins or blood thinners also break down the compounds in marijuana, he said. Using them simultaneously with marijuana can change the effectiveness or the potency of the medications.
For example, marijuana can increase the levels of the blood thinner warfarin in the body, which can lead to excessive bleeding, according to the review. One case report published last year found that people using marijuana while on warfarin may need to reduce their dosage by as much as 30 percent. With statins, pot can boost the potency, which could lead to dangerous drops in blood pressure.
If people who are on heart-related medications do choose to use marijuana, its important that they tell their doctor and their pharmacist, so the medication dosages can be adjusted if needed.
The first step is having an open discussion with clinicians, because it does influence some parts of their care, Vaduganathan said. And certain heart health patients should avoid pot entirely.
What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when there’s too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol because it doesn’t usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
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Causes Of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is the name for the waxy substance found in your blood that helps to build healthy cells, but high levels of bad cholesterol can lead to a variety of problems that can affect your cardiovascular system.
High density lipoprotein, or HDL, is beneficial to your body and helps carry excess cholesterol and remove it from your blood or break it into smaller components in your liver. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the bad cholesterol that builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them harder and narrower, and is associated with a wide variety of health conditions.
LDL cholesterol is often caused by:
- Unhealthy diet
But understanding how smoking affects cholesterol starts with knowing what smoking does to your body.
How The Acrolein In Cigarettes Affects Cholesterol
Acrolein also interferes with the LDL by inhibiting the protective enzyme responsible for keeping the LDL intact. Without this enzyme, the LDL becomes vulnerable to oxidation, a complicated chemical process that changes its molecular structure. Due to this change in structure, the immune system is no longer able to recognize the LDL. In response to this, the immune system releases white blood cells and other disease-fighting substances that bind to the affected area, causing inflammation and further buildup at the site. One study found that the more oxidized LDL present in the bloodstream, the higher the incidence of a heart attack or stroke.
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Quit Smoking And Improve Your Health
Within one day of quitting smoking:
- your heart rate slows down and your blood pressure drops slightly
- carbon monoxide is out of your blood
- oxygen levels in your blood rise.
Within two to three months:
- your ability to smell and taste improves
- your lungs regain the ability to clean themselves, so you can cough up mucus
- the blood flow to your hands and feet improves, so they wont get so cold.
Within one year:
- your risk of heart attack is greatly reduced
- if you smoked a packet of 25s a day, you would have saved over $14,000
Within two to six years:
- your risk of developing coronary heart disease returns to a similar level as that of a non-smoker.
How Smoking Hurts Your Heart
The chemicals in cigarettes harm your heart in many ways.
Thereâs carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that enters your lungs and then your bloodstream. It steals oxygen from your red blood cells, so less of it gets to your organs and tissues. It also makes your artery walls hard and stiff, which can put you on the path to a heart attack.
Donât forget nicotine, an addictive chemical in both tobacco and e-cigarettes. It makes your blood vessels narrow. It jacks up your blood pressure and heart rate, too. Your heart has to pump harder and faster than normal.
Smoking also causes chemical changes in your body. Cells in your bloodstream called platelets clump together when they react with toxic cigarette ingredients. This makes your blood thicker and stickier. It becomes harder for your heart to push it through your blood vessels.
Your cholesterol levels get out of whack, too. Cigarette smoke raises levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and a blood fat called triglycerides. Those cause waxy plaque to build up in your arteries. At the same time, it lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol — the kind that prevents plaque from forming.
When your blood pressure is high, like it is while you’re smoking, arteries get stretched and scarred. Their lining gets damaged, which lets plaque grow and combine with sticky blood cells. All of this raises your risk for blood clots, which can block blood flow to your heart or other organs. That can cause heart attacks or strokes.
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What Role Does Cholesterol Play In Health
Cholesterol has a few major functions in the body. It plays a part in hormone and vitamin D production. Its also incorporated into bile acids, which aid digestion and vitamin absorption. Cholesterol provides support to the production and maintenance of your cell membranes, as well.
In other words, you need cholesterol for good health.
Cannabis Effect On Cholesterol In Patients With Diabetes
A study that looked at the effects of two cannabinoids, CBD and tetrahydrocannabivarin, THCV, in patients with Type 2 diabetes found that, compared with placebo, THCV significantly decreased fasting plasma glucose, , although plasma HDL, the good blood-scouring cholesterol, was unaffected.
In the double-blind study, 62 patients were randomized into several different treatment groups and given different combinations of CBD or THCV for 13 weeks. The authors concluded that THCV could be good therapy for people struggling to get control of their blood sugar, but they didnt connect either of the cannabinoids to improved cholesterol levels.
A 2012 studyinvestigating the link between diabetes and marijuana use found that all marijuana users had a higher prevalence of serum HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides compared to non-users. The study looked at four groups, non-marijuana users, past users, light current users and heavy current users .
The cross-sectional study depended on self-reported data from participants, which can be subject to recall bias, and it couldnt rule out whether the people who use marijuana had different cholesterol levels than non-users because theyre younger, or other factors that could explain the association. Its definition of heavy use is also pretty low, at more than five times a month.
Can Cannabis Help Control Cholesterol? was last modified: May 25th, 2021 by Kelly Rush
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How Smoking Tobacco Affects Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term for diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels.
Since CVD refers to any disease involving the heart or blood vessels, most heart-related smoking issues fall into this category. But some conditions are causes of CVD, rather than types.
In terms of heart health, smoking can lead to:
Elevated Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels
Elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood cause damage to your endothelium. The body needs cholesterol , but too much comes with health risks. Your body usually produces most of the cholesterol it needs in your liver. The rest comes from animal fat in your diet.
While our bodies also need some low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, too much can raise your cholesterol levels dangerously and put you at risk for atherosclerosis and heart attack. Foods that come from animals, such as chicken, eggs, dairy products, beef, and pork, contain cholesterol. Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol.
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What Should My Cholesterol Levels Be
Blood cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
As a general guide, total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
As a general guide, LDL levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
An ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L. A lower level of HDL can increase your risk of heart disease.
Your ratio of total cholesterol to HDL may also be calculated. This is your total cholesterol level divided by your HDL level. Generally, this ratio should be below four, as a higher ratio increases your risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol is only one risk factor. The level at which specific treatment is required will depend on whether other risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure, are also present.
Effects Of Smoking Cessation
Comparisons between abstainers and continuing smokers are summarized in . After one year, CO levels decreased both in abstainers and continued smokers however, subjects who abstained had significantly greater CO reductions . Compared to continued smokers, abstainers had more weight gain and greater increases in waist circumference , and BMI . Abstainers had significant increases in HDL-C , total HDL particles and large HDL particles compared to those who continued to smoke . Statistically significant differences in other lipid and lipoprotein fractions were not observed.
Percent Change in HDL Parameters at 1-year Compared to Baseline Values
P values compare continued smokers to abstainers.
* p< 0.001 p=0.002
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Continue Learning About Impact Of Nicotine Addiction On The Body
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These changes in blood chemistry can cause plaquea waxy substance comprised of cholesterol, scar tissue, calcium, fat, and other material3to build up in your arteries, the major blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body. This plaque buildup can lead to a disease called atherosclerosis.
When the chemicals in cigarette smoke cause atherosclerosis and thickened blood in the arteries, it becomes more difficult for blood cells to move through arteries and other blood vessels to get to vital organs like the heart and brain.4 This can create blood clots and ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke, even death.1,2
Other rare but serious cardiovascular conditions that can be caused by smoking include:
- Peripheral artery disease : A condition in which the narrowing of blood vessels results in insufficient blood flow to arms, legs, hands, and feet. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of this condition, which can result in amputation.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm: A bulge that is formed in an area of the aortathe main artery that distributes blood through the bodythat sits in the abdomen. When an abdominal aortic aneurysm bursts, it can result in sudden death. More women than men die from aortic aneurysms, and nearly all deaths from this condition are caused by smoking.4
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