Cholesterol and blood pressure are both important factors that contribute to cardiovascular health. While they are distinct entities, they can interact and have an impact on each other.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood and cells. It plays a crucial role in the body by helping to build cell membranes, produce hormones, and create vitamin D.
Blood pressure, on the other hand, refers to the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it through the body. The elasticity of the arteries helps the blood flow to an organ increase in cases of high demand.
While cholesterol and blood pressure are separate issues, they can influence each other in the following ways:
Arterial plaque formation and arterial stiffness(atherosclerosis): Having high levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as "bad" cholesterol, can lead to the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries, known as plaques. It also affects the normal elasticity of the arteries making them stiff, known as atherosclerosis.
Also, when the arteries become stiff due to atherosclerosis, and narrow due to the plaques, the blood needs to be pumped at higher pressure, or higher force against the arterial walls, resulting in the condition of high blood pressure. This can strain the heart and blood vessels, potentially leading to various cardiovascular problems like an increase in the risk of heart disease, heart attacks or a stroke.
Inflammation: High cholesterol levels and high blood pressure can both cause inflammation in the arteries. Inflammation can further promote plaque formation and increase the risk of cardiovascular events.
Shared risk factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking, can contribute to both high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Addressing these shared risk factors can help manage both conditions.
It's important to note that while there is a relationship between cholesterol and blood pressure, they are influenced by various other factors as well. These include genetics, diet, physical activity levels, age, and overall health. Managing both cholesterol and blood pressure is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health. If you have concerns about your cholesterol or blood pressure, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice and appropriate management strategies.