Story at-a-glance

  • Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in nearly every cell of your body and is essential to good health. It plays a role in hormone production, digestion, the manufacture of vitamin D following sun exposure, and helps protect your cell membranes
  • The most concerning risk factors for cardiovascular disease are insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes and the chronic inflammation associated with these conditions
  • Other factors at play as well, such as how you eat — whether you’re rushing or taking your time — and other stress-related factors, both physical and psychological
  • Damage of the interior layers of your arteries precedes heart disease, and this damage can be induced by a number of factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and inflammation
  • Once the artery is damaged, cholesterol-rich plaque begins to build up as a protective mechanism. Problems arise when the rate of damage and resultant blood clot formation outpace or outstrip your body’s ability to repair

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