There is no one symptom of high cholesterol. However, some common symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods.
too much cholesterol in your blood can be dangerous. It can build up on the walls of your arteries and form plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood.
Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). This causes a “clot” to form. A clot can block the flow of blood through an artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol itself usually doesn’t have any symptoms, so you might not know if yours is too high. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly by a healthcare provider starting at age 20.
The different types of cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol:
LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can build up in your arteries and form plaque, which can lead to heart disease. HDL is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from your arteries.
A high LDL level increases your risk for heart disease, while a high HDL level decreases your risk.
High cholesterol symptoms
There are a few different symptoms that may be indicative of high cholesterol. One common symptom is the presence of hard, yellow deposits of cholesterol on the skin, known as xanthelasma. These usually occur around the eyelids, but can also form on the neck, chest, or other areas.
Another potential symptom of high cholesterol is atherosclerosis, which is the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to plaque buildup. This can lead to chest pain, shortness of breath, heart attack, or stroke.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can test your cholesterol levels and determine if treatment is necessary.
Causes of high cholesterol
High cholesterol is caused by a number of different things. Diet plays a big role in cholesterol levels. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats can raise your cholesterol levels.
Other dietary factors that can contribute to high cholesterol include being overweight or obese, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and eating too much sugar.
Lifestyle choices can also affect your cholesterol levels. Smoking cigarettes damages the lining of your arteries, which can lead to higher cholesterol levels.
Physical inactivity can also contribute to high cholesterol. And if you have diabetes, your risk of having high cholesterol is even higher.
Some medical conditions can also cause high cholesterol. These include hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Cushing’s syndrome. If you take certain medications, such as beta-blockers or steroids, that can also lead to higher cholesterol levels.
Complications associated with high cholesterol
High cholesterol can lead to a number of complications, including heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
Treatment options for high cholesterol
If your cholesterol levels are high, there are a number of treatment options available to you. These include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, as well as medication.
Lifestyle changes: Making healthy lifestyle choices is the foundation of treatment for high cholesterol.
This means eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; exercising regularly; and maintaining a healthy weight.
Medication: If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough to lower your cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medication. There are a variety of medications available that can help lower cholesterol levels.
Prevention of high cholesterol
There are many ways to prevent high cholesterol. A healthy diet is key, and avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated fats can help. Getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight is also important.
If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol levels.
If you are concerned that you may have high cholesterol, you must speak to your doctor. They will be able to perform a blood test to check your cholesterol levels and advise you on the best course of action.
There are many treatments available that can help to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.