High cholesterol: Symptoms and causes

cholesterol-symptoms
Knowledge is power. Understanding your risks goes a long way in preventing serious health complications. It is not for nothing that cholesterol is considered a silent killer. Most people do not even know they have high cholesterol levels until they experience a serious heart attack or stroke. To understand what you need to do to avoid such extreme risks, read up our list of symptoms and causes of high cholesterol.

Symptoms of high cholesterol

In itself, high cholesterol does not cause any symptoms. It is only on a blood test that people know their high cholesterol levels. This could be during a routine blood test or tests to ascertain other health issues. In some extreme cases, people come into the hospital for:

  • Angina – narrowing of arteries that feed into the heart
  • Heart attacks – caused by narrowing of arteries and consequent blockages
  • Stroke – caused by blood clots in the arteries of the neck or brain
  • Peripheral arterial disease – leading to pain in the legs while walking

  • Do not wait for extreme symptoms to appear. If you are overweight, drink, smoke, have a sedentary lifestyle, have diabetes and have family with high cholesterol, go for regular blood tests at least once in 3 months. In fact anyone above 30 must get a cholesterol test at least once a year.

    Your total cholesterol levels as a healthy adult should be 5mmol/L or less. Your LDL levels must be 3mmol/L or less. An ideal HDL level is 1mmol/L or higher. Lower levels of HDL increases your risk of coronary heart disease. Understand your numbers with the help of your doctor and plan a lifestyle to maintain your levels.

    What causes high cholesterol?

    There is no fixed “one single” cause attributed to high LDL cholesterol levels.Usually multiple causes lead to high levels. These include:

  • an unhealthy diet rich in saturated fats, trans fats, red meat, rich dairy products, bakery items and sugared foods
  • being overweight with a large waist circumference is a definite risk factor
  • sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise is a dangerous warning sign
  • already diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension can put you at risk
  • family history of high cholesterol and heart diseases
  • smoking is an additional risk factor as acrolein (found in cigarettes) prevents the HDL cholesterol from clearing the fatty deposits in the liver. This can lead to narrowing of arteries

  • Use this as a checklist to see where you fit. If you fit any of these above conditions, it is time to stop and pause. Get a handle on your lifestyle and cut out all those negative conditions. It is a matter of mental discipline and will to stay healthy.


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