Cholesterol and Hypertension aren’t Mutually Exclusive

It’s rare in the human body that events happen in a vacuum—and very much like “The Skeleton” song suggests—everything is connected. And beyond the skeleton, the saying is especially true within the cardiovascular system. Known as the “king of systems,” the cardiovascular system is a complex network of veins and arteries that impact every part of the human body.

So it only makes sense that there is a relationship between cholesterol and hypertension (or high blood pressure). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 percent of Americans—roughly 70 million people—suffer from hypertension, and studies suggest that those with high cholesterol are more likely to develop hypertension. The numbers are even higher for African Americans—more than 40 percent are living with high blood pressure.

Men with an elevated risk for atherosclerosis (‘hardening of the arteries’) are also vulnerable to metabolic syndrome, a condition that increases your risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. Other risk factors, like a high LDL (bad) cholesterol level and smoking, are contributors for heart and other vascular diseases.

I refer to the definition of metabolic syndrome utilized by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as follows:

* Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.