What're the symptoms of high cholesterol?
Symptoms of high cholesterol usually are rare. High cholesterol levels are generally identified from a blood test. The symptoms seen are actually from the end-result of high cholesterol for health issues such as coronary disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin (called xanthomas), liver and spleen enlargement (that the doctor will feel on exam), and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
However, unless your cholesterol is severe, the only way to know if your cholesterol levels are within desirable ranges is to have your blood tested. Have your cholesterol checked regularly, and take preventive steps to avoid the complications of high cholesterol. To learn about blood cholesterol testing, click "next" below.
Elevated cholesterol levels in the body as such do not produce any major symptoms or signs, but leads to the development of serious disorders like Atherosclerotic heart disease, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, gallstones etc. Blockage of the coronary arteries in the heart by cholesterol deposition leads to coronary insufficiency, ischaemia (decreased oxygen supply to the muscles of the heart) and this eventually results in myocardial infarction (heart attack). Cholesterol constitutes a large part of the most frequently occurring type of gallstones. Very high levels of cholesterol lead to skin changes like xanthelesma near the eyes. The lack of symptoms until the complications occur necessitates periodic monitoring of lipid profiles in all individuals.
Some people with lipid disorders, such as familial hypercholesterolemia, may have other distinct symptoms such as deposits of excess cholesterol that collect in the skin or eyelid tissue. These cholesterol deposits can also cause nodules in tendons in the hands or feet or, rarely, yellow streaks in the hands.
Blood cholesterol levels in both men and women begin to go up around age 20. Women before menopause have levels that are lower than men of the same age. After menopause, a women's LDL-cholesterol level goes up--and so her risk for heart disease increases. For both men and women, heart disease is the number one cause of death. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it. Cholesterol lowering is important for everyone--younger, middle age, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.
More symptoms of High Cholesterol: In addition to the above information, to get a full picture of the possible symptoms of this condition and its related conditions, it may be necessary to examine symptoms that may be caused by complications of High Cholesterol, underlying causes of High Cholesterol, associated conditions for High Cholesterol, risk factors for High Cholesterol, or other related conditions.
More information on cholesterol
What is cholesterol? - Cholesterol is a steroid lipid, found in the cell membranes of all body tissues, and transported in the blood plasma, of all animals.
What is LDL cholesterol? - Low-density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol carries the largest amount of cholesterol in the blood and is responsible for depositing cholesterol in the artery walls. An elevated LDL cholesterol level is associated with a greater risk of heart disease.
Why is LDL cholesterol considered "bad"? - When too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.
What is HDL cholesterol? - High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is one of several types of fats and is measured as 'Total Cholesterol'. HDL is thought to pick up cholesterol from body tissues and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion.
Why is HDL cholesterol considered "good"? - Because HDL clears cholesterol out of the system and high levels of it are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, HDL is often called "good" cholesterol.
How to raise HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol)? - Regular aerobic exercise, loss of excess weight (fat), and cessation of cigarette smoking cigarettes will increase HDL cholesterol levels.
How cholesterol is measured and tested? - Cholesterol is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, usually shortened to "mmol/litre" or "mmol/l".
What're the cholesterol readings? - Cholesterol readings you receive from your medical provider generally include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and high density lipoproteins cholesterol levels.
How often should my cholesterol be checked? - According to a new set of national guidelines governing cholesterol measurement and treatment, it is recommended that the level be treated every 5 years.
What causes high cholesterol? - High cholesterol is caused by eating a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Some people, however, have an inherited disorder in which the body cannot properly metabolize cholesterol.
What are the high cholesterol risk factors? - A diet high in certain types of fats is one factor. Medical problems such as poorly controlled diabetes, an underactive thyroid gland, an overactive pituitary gland, liver disease or kidney failure also may cause high cholesterol levels.
What're the symptoms of high cholesterol? - People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons and skin, liver and spleen enlargement, and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.
What are triglycerides? - Triglycerides are another type of fat that is associated with adverse health consequences. Many patients with high cholesterol also have high triglycerides.
How to test triglycerides? - For triglycerides testing, blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. A vein at the inside of the elbow or on the back of the hand is usually selected.
How can LDL cholesterol levels be lowered? - Lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol involves losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and following a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
How to reduce cholesterol with dietary therapy? - A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is desired to keep your total fat consumption--saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated--to fewer than 30 percent of your daily intake of calories.
What about when I go out to eat? - Avoid fried foods. Entrees covered with sauces, as well as creamy dressing, thick soups and casseroles should be avoided because they are usually rich in fat. Look for items labeled "heart-healthy" on the menu.
What cholesterol medications are available to lower cholesterol? - Cholesterol-reducing drugs include cholestyramine (Questran), colestipol (Colestid), gemfibrozil (Lopid), lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol) and simvastatin (Zocor).
What nutritional supplements are available to reduce cholesterol? - Artichoke is particularly helpful in relieving gastrointestinal problems that result from an inability to adequately process fats. Garlic assists the heart for centuries and has been used in herbal medicines for all manner of conditions.
What cholesterol lowering food are there? - Eating more fiber-rich foods may help to lower your blood cholesterol level. Soy products are also linked to reduced cholesterol because of their isoflavone content.