The chances are that you know your cholesterol level is important and that it shouldn't be too high. But beyond that, most people are unsure exactly how cholesterol fits into the heart disease puzzle. As a consequence, many people become overly concerned about their cholesterol levels, whilst others are not concerned enough.
Many medical studies have now demonstrated a link between increased risk of heart disease and elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood. As a consequence, cholesterol reduction has been promoted as a means of reducing the risk of heart disease. However, there is increasing evidence that although lowering cholesterol levels may reduce the risk of heart disease, excessively low cholesterol levels may increase the risk of other conditions such as depression and cancer.
Elevated cholesterol levels are an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease when combined with other risk factors such as smoking, a family history of heart disease or high blood pressure. However, cholesterol is a much less reliable predictor of cardiovascular disease when other risk factors are not present.