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iVillage: 6 Ways You Can (and Can't) Control Cholesterol

Smokers Beware

If you think smoking only damages your lungs, think again. It also lowers your good cholesterol (HDL) levels and increases the chances of fatty deposits building up inside of your blood vessels, a condition called atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. The good news is that by quitting smoking you can reverse some cholesterol damage. Plus, after one year without smoking, your excess risk of a heart disease is cut in half, according to the Surgeon General’s report on the benefits of quitting. Your blood pressure and heart rate can decrease in as little as 20 minutes after your last cigarette.

(CREDIT: Zero Creatives/Creatura/Getty Images)
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