WHAT YOUR RISKS MEAN
Elevated cholesterol levels contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. This buildup can slowly harden and narrow the arteries, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Having additional risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop serious heart problems. But it does mean you may need to be more aggressive in managing your cholesterol to prevent them. In addition to making important lifestyle changes such as eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, exercising regularly, losing weight, and not smoking, your doctor may recommend a lower target for your LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Those at high risk for heart disease should aim for an LDL of 70 mg/dL.
Some risk factors for heart disease that may affect your cholesterol management plan include the following:
The risk for heart disease and stroke among people with diabetes is the same as for someone who is already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. As a result, lowering LDL cholesterol—which is a major factor for atherosclerosis—is key for people with diabetes.