Is There A Connection Between Cholesterol And Cataracts
Everyone knows that cholesterol is bad for the overall health of the body. High cholesterol levels can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis . This makes a person more likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke. Its so extremely important to keep cholesterol levels down to help prevent heart disease. Some reports say that high cholesterol is related to cataracts and other eye issues. Is this true? And, how can you get your cholesterol levels under control?
Good Vs Bad Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol, Low-density lipoproteins , can build up in your arteries and lead to health complications. Good cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins , returns your LDL cholesterol to the liver where the body can get rid of it. Your body needs a healthy balance of both good and bad cholesterol.
A diet high in fats increases LDL cholesterol in your blood. If LDL levels become too high or if you dont have enough HDL cholesterol to remove excess LDL, fatty deposits build up in your blood vessels. As a result, it makes it difficult for your body to pump adequate blood supply, creating potentially life-threatening problems impacting the heart or brain.
High cholesterol does not always cause symptoms in fact it typically begins with no symptoms at all. Thats why regular cholesterol screenings are so important regardless if you think you have high cholesterol or not.
Eating A Lot Of Fatty Foods And Lack Of Exercise
Well admit, this sign seems pretty straightforward, but theres absolutely no denying that eating a lot of fatty foods greatly increases the cholesterol levels in your body. A lack of exercise allows cholesterol to build up in your body. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are also highly detrimental. In short, if youre living an unhealthy lifestyle, chances are youre also dealing with high cholesterol.
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More About The Symptoms Of Cholesterol
The liver is responsible for producing most of the cholesterol in your body, though you can also absorb it from foods that contain cholesterol. The problem is that, even though many organs need it, too much cholesterol causes irreparable damage. In fact, high cholesterol is a potential killer.
The most worrisome thing is that many are unaware that they have it in high quantities since it isnt usually manifested by blunt symptoms.
Consequently, it can lead to the development of more serious health problems, such as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and kidney failure. Because of this, its very important to identify any signs that could help detect any problems early on.
What Else Can Eye Exams Detect
Comprehensive eye exams can detect many problems that affect the eyes alone. Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and basic refractive errors are all detected upon proper examination. These issues often have nothing to do with body-wide disease processes, but many of them will steal your sight over time if they are not treated.
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Cholesterol Buildup Links Atherosclerosis And Macular Degeneration
A new study raises the intriguing possibility that drugs prescribed to lower cholesterol may be effective against macular degeneration, a blinding eye disease.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in Americans over 50, shares a common link with atherosclerosis. Both problems have the same underlying defect: the inability to remove a buildup of fat and cholesterol.
The new study is published online in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Working in mice and in human cells, the researchers shed new light on how deposits of cholesterol contribute to macular degeneration and atherosclerosis and even blood vessel growth in some types of cancer.
Patients who have atherosclerosis often are prescribed medications to lower cholesterol and keep arteries clear. This study suggests that some of those same drugs could be evaluated in patients with macular degeneration.
Based on our findings, we need to investigate whether vision loss caused by macular degeneration could be prevented with cholesterol-lowering eye drops or other medications that might prevent the buildup of lipids beneath the retina, says senior investigator Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD.
Diagnosing The Effects Of High Cholesterol
Your eyes are the only areas of your body where your blood vessels can be observed without actually cutting into your bodily tissues.
An examination of the blood vessels in your eyes can help physicians determine the potential level of plaque and clots you may have as a result of increased cholesterol levels. This type of observation may be useful in developing treatment plans.
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Diseases And Conditions Linked To Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry Eye Syndrome can be caused by a multitude of different possible sources, ranging from contact lenses, dry air, aging and more. In addition, there are numerous medical conditions and ailments that can be the instigator for dry eyes. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition, and our eye doctors agree that a comprehensive eye exam that can identify the cause is usually necessary to make sure the symptoms dont worsen in the future. If you have dry eyes, consult our eye doctor today. These diseases and conditions are just a few of the possible causes for DES.
Thyroid Eye Disease
A condition normally afflicting those suffering other thyroid related conditions, Thyroid Eye Disease is also known as Graves Ophthalmopathy. It can cause numerous symptoms such as severe eye pain, blurred vision, bulging eyes and blindness. Dry eyes are, however, one of the first symptoms. Fortunately, the disease is treatable, and some moderate cases have even been known to enter remission in less than a year. Nonetheless, treatment is still recommended. Cases of TED that are severe require immediate surgery to prevent total loss of sight. It is estimated that TED develops in .05% of males and 3% of females around the world. Smoking tobacco is one of the highest risk factors surrounding the disease, and one should quit smoking to lessen the risk.
High Cholesterol And The Eyes: Signs And Symptoms
Johnstone M. Kim, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and a practicing physician at Midwest Retina in Dublin, Ohio.
Your body needs some cholesterol, a type of fat, to function properly. However, having too much cholesterol in your blood can negatively affect your health.
Your doctor can test your blood to find out what your cholesterol levels are, but you might also have signs or symptomssome of which may affect your eyes.
Here is what you should know about the signs and symptoms of high cholesterol that might show up in and around your eyes, and when you should see a doctor for them.
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Cholesterol Contributes To Vision Problems
Studies have looked at the relationship between high cholesterol and vision problems and have found that high cholesterol may contribute to retinal vein occlusion, which is a condition that causes sudden blindness. This condition occurs because plaques build up in the arteries, preventing blood flow to the eyes. The optic nerve becomes negatively impacted by this reduced blood flow, and the end result is sudden vision loss.
Another vision problem associated with high cholesterol is corneal arcus. The eye will reveal whitish, gray, or yellowish deposits associated with high cholesterol. This colored ring appears around the retina and has been found to be related to diabetes and high blood pressure. The main course of treatment for corneal arcus is controlling cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol can also lead to xanthomas, yellowish bumps that appear on the skin and, in some cases, on the eye. Normally, xanthomas arent harmful but can lead to disfiguration. In some cases, the yellowish bumps burst, which require medical attention immediately.
The takeaway message here is that high cholesterol is bad for your health as a whole, not just for your heart. If your doctor has expressed concerns about your cholesterol, you should take the necessary steps to lower your levels not only for improving your heart, but for maintaining your vision as well.
When To See A Doctor
If you notice a gradual change in your vision, its important to tell your eye doctor. An eye exam can help them pinpoint what is causing your eyesight to change.
Some of the eye conditions that are related to high cholesterol, including xanthelasma and arcus senilis, do not typically cause vision changes.
If you experience a sudden loss in vision or you are seeing floaters for the first time, make an urgent appointment with your eye doctor. If your eye doctor is not available, go to the emergency room.
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Eye Damage Caused By High Cholesterol
One of the ways cholesterol can damage your eyesight is if the cholesterol breaks free from build-up in the arteries. It then goes into the bloodstream where it can then clog up the retinas arteries. This would result in retinal artery occlusion. It can also cause macular degeneration because the buildup of cholesterol in the macular vessel slows down the amount of blood flow getting to the eyes.
Dont wait until its too late. Start making changes in your lifestyle and daily routine now to prevent high cholesterol and vision damaging risks. Its so easy to make healthy, natural changes, like adding the right foods to your diet and exercising. Even if you have a family history of high cholesterol doesnt mean youre guaranteed to have it, too. Make an effort to get current and updated information about your options from your doctor. A little motivation and dedication can go a long way in the battle to maintain a healthy life and healthy eyes!
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Can An Eye Exam Detect General Health Problems Like High Cholesterol
Can An Eye Exam Detect General Health Problems Like High Cholesterol?
Eye exams are good for more than the eyes themselves. Many body-wide diseases and conditions affect the eyes, so they can be spotted and diagnosed during a comprehensive eye checkup. Diabetes, tumors, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more have been initially diagnosed this way.
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What Causes Hypertensive Retinopathy
Prolonged high blood pressure, or hypertension, is the main cause of HR. High blood pressure is a chronic problem in which the force of the blood against your arteries is too high.
The force is a result of the blood pumping out of the heart and into the arteries, as well as the force created as the heart rests between heartbeats.
When the blood moves through the body at a higher pressure, the tissue that makes up the arteries will begin to stretch and eventually become damaged. This leads to many problems over time.
HR generally occurs after your blood pressure has been consistently high over a prolonged period. Your blood pressure levels can be affected by:
- a lack of physical activity
- being overweight
- eating an unhealthy diet thats high in fat proteins, trans fats, sugary foods, and sodium
- heavy alcohol consumption
Additionally, the condition is more common in people of African descent, particularly Afro-Caribbean people, according to research from 2003. Women are also more likely to be affected by blood vessel damage than men.
Wrong Dietary Habits Consisting Of Saturated Fats And Trans Fats
Foods that are high in saturated fats are rich sources of triglycerides and LDL. They also tend to lower HDL, the good cholesterol.
Such foods include fatty red meat, lard, poultry skin, butter, high-fat dairy products, and shellfish. Regular consumption of such foods can over time give your triglycerides a boost in their numbers.
Trans-fat foods are another potential reason for increased triglyceride and LDL numbers posing a high risk of serious health problems to the heart, brain, and more.
Trans fats are artificially manufactured through a process of hydrogenation. It is an inexpensive way to chemically treat liquid oils and solidify them to improve the taste and texture and increase the shelf life.
Trans fats are added to a variety of foods such as doughnuts, baked goods including cakes, biscuits, pie crusts, cookies, frozen pizza, crackers, stick kinds of margarine and other spreads, lunch meat, hot dogs, snack foods such as french fries, chips.
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Dry Eye And High Cholesterol
If you are one of the many people who suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome, including irritation, blurred vision, itching, or sensitivity to light, then you may find that you can acquire some relief from simply changing your everyday habits. Adjusting your lifestyle so as to ensure that you do as much as possible to encourage not only a healthy body, but healthy eyes too, can be a great way to reduce your chances of developing serious ocular conditions in later life.
Everyday Habits that Contribute to Dry Eye
Over the years, researchers have found that a regular habit of smoking can help to worsen the uncomfortable aspects of dry eye, while consuming caffeine may actually be responsible for reducing the amount of symptoms that you experience. The findings have been published for this study in the Archives of Ophthalmology. Dry eye is by far one of the most common complaints among middle-aged and older adults. Indeed, more than 10 million Americans are currently suffering from symptoms of dry eye, yet little is known about why people currently develop the condition.
High Cholesterol Could Lead to Dry Eyes
High Cholesterol Impacts the Vision in Many Ways
High cholesterol can lead to etinal vein occlusion, which harms the functioning of various parts of the eye, including:
Fighting Back Against Dry Eyes
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Abnormal Looking Toenails & Legs
If your legs and feet are not getting adequate blood flow the results may show in your toenails. Signs include thickening toenails or toenails that grow slower than normal.
Your skin may also change in appearance, becoming shiny and tight looking. If when you hold your leg up it appears white, but when you place it down it turns a purple/red color this indicates your body is diluting blood vessels in order to increase blood flow to your feet. Your feet may also turn pale or bluish when you sit for long periods because youre not getting proper blood circulation.
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High Triglycerides: 11 Causes And 9 Dangers To Worry About
The medical term for high triglycerides is hypertriglyceridemia. There are various reasons that cause triglyceride levels to rise and again, there are various side effects and dangers associated with such a rise.
According to the American Heart Association, the amount of triglycerides in the blood speaks great volumes of the health of your metabolism. High levels make you a potential candidate for coronary heart disease, diabetes, and fatty liver disease.
However, you cannot ignore these lipids because of the important functions they perform.
Targeting Cholesterol Buildup In Eye May Slow Age
Targeting cholesterol metabolism in the eye might help prevent a severe form of age-related macular degeneration , one of the most common causes of blindness in older Americans, according to indications in a study in mice, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Cholesterol build-up in arteries and veins, or atherosclerosis, occurs as a natural consequence of aging. Likewise, in AMD, cholesterol is known to accumulate in the eye, within deposits called drusen.
The study, published in Cell Metabolism, shows that large cells called macrophages appear to play a key role in clearing cholesterol from the eye, and that with aging, these cells become less efficient at this task. Eye drops containing a type of drug known to promote cholesterol release from macrophages, called a liver X receptor agonist, helped restore macrophage function and prevent AMD progression in a mouse model. The study was led by Rajendra Apte, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of ophthalmology and vision sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.
This study points to a novel strategy for early intervention to prevent the progression of AMD to the severe neovascular form of the disease, said Grace Shen, Ph.D., a program director at NIHs National Eye Institute, which funded the research.
For more information about AMD, visit .
NIHTurning Discovery Into Health®
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
These events typically dont occur until high cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque in your arteries. Plaque can narrow arteries so less blood can pass through. The formation of plaque changes the makeup of your arterial lining. This could lead to serious complications.
A blood test is the only way to know if your cholesterol is too high. This means having a total blood cholesterol level above 240 milligrams per deciliter . Ask your doctor to give you a cholesterol test after you turn 20 years old. Then get your cholesterol rechecked every 4 to 6 years.
Your doctor may also suggest you have your cholesterol checked more frequently if you have a family history of high cholesterol. Or if you demonstrate the following risk factors:
- have high blood pressure
The Appearance Of Cholesterol Bubbles On The Skin
Sometimes, the excessive amount of cholesterol may manifest on the outside of your body as well. A yellowish sort of rash can appear on the skin, which is filled with cholesterol. Theyre called xanthomas and are usually found on the Achilles heel and the hand, although theyre sometimes located on the tendons of your foot, knee or elbow too.
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