Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Your liver makes cholesterol for your body. You also can get cholesterol from the foods you eat. Meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese, and milk all have cholesterol in them. Fruits, vegetables, and grains (like oatmeal) don't have any cholesterol.

Cholesterol is an organic molecule. It is a sterol, a type of lipid. Cholesterol is biosynthesized by all animal cells and is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes. It is a yellowish crystalline solid

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Quiz: Do You Understand Heart Disease?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:


Coronery artery disease can lead to a heart attack.

As plaque builds up it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. This decreased blood flow can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations and sweating. A complete blockage can lead to a heart attack.

Congestive heart failure is also known as atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is also called arrhythmia. Congestive heart failure is a chronic heart condition that occurs when your heart muscle is ineffective at pumping blood. While the term "heart failure" is often used used, congestive heart failure is the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart, causing it to pump inefficiently.

Atrial fibrillation can increase your risk of stroke.

Arrhythmia (also known as atrial fibrillation) can increase your risk of heart failure, stroke, blood clots and other heart conditions.

Beta blockers aren't a treatment for heart disease.

Treatment for heart disease depends on your condition, and may include antiplatelet drugs, anticoagulants, beta blockers, nitrates, calcium channel blockers and others.

Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease.

In many cases, heart disease can be prevented by controlling risk factors. Risk factors for heart disease include obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Bill Semchuk, BSP, MSc, Pharmc D, MCSHP, Phamracist, discusses why adherence to cholesterol medications is so important.

Diana Steele, BSc, RD, discusses the dangers of high tryglerides.

Dr. Milan Gupta, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist, discusses How to Control LDL or ‘Bad’ Cholesterol in Your Life

High Cholesterol and the Importance of Adherence to Medication

High cholesterol is a chronic condition, and it affects a lot of Canadians. We can’t fix your cholesterol, but we can lower it with medications. Because cholesterol stays up without intervention you need to take these medications for the rest of your life.

Current statistics would suggest that about half of Canadians stop taking their medications within a year to two of starting. The challenge with that is the longer you take your medications the greater the benefit.

And those people who stop their medications early lose the benefit of that therapy. It’s really important when you are prescribed a new medication to talk to your doctor and ask how long do you expect me to take this?

It’s really important that you talk to your pharmacist and say how long do you expect me to take this? And put yourself in a position not to run out of your medications. Work with your pharmacist to ensure that refills are there. Work with your pharmacist to make it easy to take those medications if you face any challenges.

Taking medications over the long term will reduce heart attacks and strokes. If you want more information on cholesterol and the effect of medications and the importance of adherence, talk to your pharmacist – they can help.

Presenter: Mr. Bill Semchuk, Pharmacist, Regina, SK

Local Practitioners: Pharmacist

How to Control LDL or 'Bad' Cholesterol in Your Life

Cholesterol is a very vital part of our biology. We need cholesterol for certain things. We need cholesterol to stabilize cell membranes, to synthesize certain hormones.

There are good cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels, and we all know that bad cholesterol is bad because that’s the fundamental process that leads to heart disease.

While there are a number of risk factors for heart disease, we know that the most potent risk factor is in fact smoking. However, high cholesterol – because it’s so much more common in a population in general than smoking – is actually the most important risk factor for heart disease at a population level.

Now, that’s good and that’s bad. It’s bad because it’s so common, but it’s good because it is manageable; it is preventable. Through living a healthy lifestyle, eating a healthy diet, low-fat diet, avoiding smoking, exercising and avoiding obesity, we can keep our LDL cholesterol levels low right from childhood all the way into adulthood.

And genetic experiments that have looked at this have clearly supported the idea that if LDL cholesterol is kept low from childhood into adulthood, the risk of heart disease is dramatically reduced.

Sometimes healthy living alone is not enough to control LDL cholesterol, and we need to turn to drug therapy. The statin drugs are an absolute cornerstone in treating not only LDL cholesterol, but in reducing lifetime risk of heart attack, of stroke, and of death due to heart disease.

While statin drugs have been a boon in the fight against heart disease, there are some people who can’t tolerate them due to the side effects, and sometimes the statins just aren’t powerful enough to get the LDL cholesterol under control.

While we do have several other options, we are particularly excited about new drugs and development that we hope to have available to us within a short period of time that will likely further help us in this battle against heart disease.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol level or if you want to learn more, then you absolutely need to consult with your family physician who can assess not only your cholesterol levels, but your risk for developing heart disease and your need for any treatment.

Presenter: Dr. Milan Gupta, Cardiologist, Brampton, ON

Local Practitioners: Cardiologist

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