reply to post by WarJohn
The theory WAS that cholesterol builds up plaques (fatty deposits) in the arteries and reduces the flow of blood by blocking (either partially or
fully) the arteries.
This definitely occurs but may not be the end of the story as far as heart attack goes.
Heart attack is usually caused by the electrical rhythm of the heart (the sinus rhythm) being disrupted, which causes the heart to pump poorly, or not
At its minimum, this disruption is called arrhythmia, at its maximum, it is called defibrillation. When your heart rhythm is in defibrillation, you
are not conscious and are dying. It is way past a heart attack (angina).
Cholesterol does not affect the sinus rhythm (as far as anyone knows) but cholesterol build ups have been observed in many cases of those suffering
The reason is that cholesterol is the body's attempt to protect the heart and arteries from inflammation (usually caused by infection). By capping
the inflamed area, the cholesterol inhibits the spread of the cause of the inflammation, allowing the immune system to deal with the problem.
The thing is, inflammation DOES affect the sinus rhythm! This means that cholesterol plaques actually PREVENT heart attack.
They are a symptom, not a cause.
Even so, things can go way out of control and continued successive episodes of inflammation can cause a significant and health threatening reduction
of blood flow due to plaque build up.
The other thing that you need to know about cholesterol is that there is nothing better at dissolving the plaque build-ups than cholesterol like fats
Hence, simply reducing cholesterol in the blood is NOT going to protect you from heart attack. The best advice is a balance of diet and exercise.
If your cholesterol is high, reducing it to a "normal" level is OK. If it is normal, don't reduce it, it's OK. If it is low, supplement your diet
with foods that contain cholesterol (and other fatty acids).