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High Cholesterol: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Overview

Every year, heart sickness asserts about 5 lac lives in America. If you can reduce cholesterol levels you can avoid becoming a part of these statistics.

Studies show that if you reduce cholesterol levels, the risk of heart disease is reduced by up to 40 percent. A person’s lifestyle, including inactivity, obesity and eating a high-fat diet, can contribute to high cholesterol levels.

The following factors increase the likelihood that high cholesterol levels will lead to atherosclerosis: smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and a family history of atherosclerosis.

Not surprisingly, high blood pressure and high cholesterol go together. Consequently, untreated or not well managed. High cholesterol levels increase your heart attack and stroke risks unless you make efforts to reduce cholesterol.

Of the around 50 million US adults having hypertension. A recent study found that more than two-thirds of them also have high cholesterol.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a wax like substance formed in our liver. Cholesterol is required by the body because it helps in various bodily functions. Some of the functions in which cholesterol assists the body are:

  • Making vitamin D
  • Maintaining the health of the cell walls
  • Making and balancing hormones
  • Making acids like bile acids which help indigestion

But it is important to know that body needs limited cholesterol. And sometimes, our body makes cholesterol over that. In that case, this excess cholesterol circulates in the blood.

When there is a high level of cholesterol in the body, this will block or clog the vessels of the blood which may be fatal for the heart.

However, it is worth noting that not all cholesterol is harmful. HDL or high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) is good for health. It helps to clear the LDL or low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and clears the risk of stroke and cardiac problems.

To have perfect cholesterol levels, it is important to eat right. Animal foods like eggs, meat, fish, etc. are high in cholesterol. Thriving on natural foods like fruits and vegetables can maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body.

Even processed foods might have more LDL. Thus it is necessary to have lots of green vegetables in the daily diet rather than saturated and processed foods.

How Cholesterol is Good?

However, there is also a positive use of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat like substance that is both produced by the body and found in foods of animal origin.

In a person’s blood, cholesterol originates from two major sources – dietary intake and liver production. The liver is capable of eliminating cholesterol from the blood circulation as well as forming and secreting cholesterol into the blood circulation.

Most of the cholesterol in the human body is synthesized in the liver. Cholesterol is also useful in the formation of bile acids and the synthesis of steroid hormones.There are two types of cholesterol, which is given below:

  1. low density lipoprotein (LDL)
  2. high density lipoprotein (HDL).

What’s the Difference Between Good and Bad Cholesterol?

1. Low Density Lipoprotein(LDL) -Bad Cholesterol

LDL is also referred to as “bad cholesterol” because having too much is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

LDL accumulates in the walls of the arteries with the combination of other waste substances, causing the formation of a hard, thick deposit known as cholesterol plaque. Cholesterol plaque causes thickening of the artery walls and narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis.

This condition is known as hyperlipidemia and the clot will form gradually and later blocks the narrowed of an artery causing the heart attack.

2. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)- Good Cholesterol

High density lipoprotein or HDL is also referred to as good cholesterol. This cholesterol protects your heart against heart attack by preventing atherosclerosis because HDL removes cholesterol from the artery walls and disposes of them through the liver.

There is a risk of developing atherosclerosis when there is a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol. It is preferable to have a low level of LDL cholesterol and a high level of HDL cholesterol.

What Is High Cholesterol?

When your body is exposed to too much cholesterol, it begins to clog artery walls as your body distributes it throughout the bloodstream.

Over time, this unwanted plaque narrows or hardens the arteries slowing or even blocking blood flow. Because your blood, and the oxygen it carries, is essential to your heart and brain, weakening blood flow can have adverse effects. If your blood donates is cut off or even reduced, you are at a high risk of heart attack or stroke.

While normal, natural levels of Cholesterol are good for the body. Increased Cholesterol caused by an unhealthy diet of excessive meats and dairy products will cause hardened arteries.

There are no symptoms related to high cholesterol, so it is important to have your cholesterol checked regularly.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

It may be shocking to learn that there are practically no symptoms to diagnose if you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol is ordinarily analyzed through a blood test.

However, if you are having health issues such as coronary disease, vascular disease or stroke, then this could be the result of a high cholesterol level in your body.

You should consider cholesterol screening. And since high cholesterol symptoms often become evident themselves when you have coronary disease.

You should consider high cholesterol symptoms to include angina, which manifests itself in chest pains caused by a lack of adequate blood supply to the heart muscle, nausea, and shortness of breath.

Vascular disease cholesterol symptoms include a tightening sensation in the lower extremities and ulcers or open sores on the lower extremities.

High cholesterol level symptoms indicated by stroke symptoms include:

  • a loss of balance
  • dizziness
  • slurring of speech
  • a numbing sensation of the face, arm or leg.

This can be a sudden event with little or no warning. People who are overweight and do little or no exercise tend to be the ones with a high cholesterol level.

Therefore, before you experience high cholesterol symptoms. It is recommended that you have a cholesterol blood test every three years. If you are overweight and every five years if you are a normal healthy weight.

Cholesterol screening for high cholesterol

Public high cholesterol screening can detect large numbers of people with high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol screening can also raise awareness of a high cholesterol level as a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

However, if HDL measurements aren’t available, then measuring total cholesterol levels provides useful high cholesterol level information.

Finally, people with a family history of heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure should be encouraged to attend a high cholesterol screening.

How to Control High Cholesterol?

You can prevent developing such bad cholesterol by proper diet and exercise. Avoid foods that are high in fats from animal products.

Unfortunately, this does not immediately trim down cholesterol level and return it to its normal range since the older the person gets. The level of cholesterol also increases.

Most people also acquired a high level of cholesterol by inheriting from their parents. If this level of cholesterol doesn’t naturally take effect, doctors may prescribe medicines that help lower blood cholesterol.