Keeping your cholesterol in check may not just be good for your heart -- having high levels could lead to another serious heath condition. You can add Alzheimer's to the list of diseases linked to unhealthy eating.
A new study ties high cholesterol to this degenerative neurological disorder.
"What they found was that for individuals who had higher total cholesterol and higher ldl, that's the bad cholesterol that we think about, they had more likelihood of developing the so-called neuritic plaques of Alzheimer's disease," explains Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers looked for plaques and tangles in autopsied brains. These protein build-ups are thought to be responsible for the brain's decline. Results showed that 86 percent of people who had high cholesterol also had brain plaques, while only 62 percent of people who had low cholesterol had plaques.
While more research is needed on this correlation, it may be one more reason to keep your bad cholesterol down.
"Perhaps if we see that clearly high cholesterol is associated with clinical Alzheimer's disease, maybe we should be controlling cholesterol a lot more aggressively," Dr. Factora says. "But for those individuals who actually have high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, you should be controlling cholesterol anyway to help prevent progression of those diseases."
You can help control or lower your cholesterol levels in a number of ways. Doctors recommend losing extra pounds, exercising daily and eating heart-friendly foods. Making lifestyle changes that are easy and lasting can reduce your risk of disease and improve your overall well-being.
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