Cholesterol and the associated problems that it causes in arterial blood vessels are a concern of adults living in developed countries. It is a preventable and treatable cause of vascular disease. The first changes in the walls of the arteries begin to occur in the teenage years. Many seniors feel that by their fifties, the benefits of preventive treatment are trivial. This is not true. Benefits from dietary reduction in cholesterol accrue to both the older and younger patient.
Most people eat from a somewhat restricted dietary selection. They eat a traditional, customary, or habitual diet. In the United States, this customary fare has long included large amounts of animal fat in such foods as eggs, milk, butter, pork, and beef. Most people tolerate this diet extremely well. Nonetheless, large numbers of people face the problem of elevated levels of blood cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol levels may cause premature development of hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis, and the associated problems of heart attack and stroke.