The synthesis, transport and storage of cholesterol in mammals is regulated by a number of mechanisms. Defects in these lead to many pathological abnormalities; most common of which is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is manifested by deposition of cholesterol and other lipids on the inner walls of blood vessels. This leads to occlusion of blood vessels in the heart and the brain, resulting in increased blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. The causative factors for atherosclerosis include, smoking, obesity, lack of physical exercise, emotional stress and high fat diet.
Atherosclerotic individuals always have increased levels of VLDL and LDL in plasma. Though many hypolipidemic drugs are commercially available to control the cholesterol levels, they often elicit harmful side effects. Diet control and physical exercise are often recommended for controlling atherosclerosis.