What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when there’s too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol because it doesn’t usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.
Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
Risk factors for heart disease include:
- Cigarette smoking.
- Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
- Being overweight or obese.
Muscle Pain And Damage
You may experience muscle pain when taking a statin. This may include soreness, tiredness, or even weakness in your muscles. The pain may be mild, or it may become severe enough to greatly impact your daily routine. If you have any new or unusual muscle pain or fatigue after starting a statin, talk to your doctor right away. Ignoring muscle pain can make it worse. Theres also a risk that the pain can progress to serious muscle damage called rhabdomyolysis.
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Cholesterol Buildup In Your Eyes
When your body has too much cholesterol it can show up anywhere with arteries passing through. Your eyes are full of tiny blood vessels where high cholesterol can show up. You may notice a fatty skin deposit in your cornea or yellow fat deposits around your eyelids. Xanthomas are not reserved to your eyes, they may also appear on your elbows, knees or ankles, as well as other parts of your skin.
Natural Remedies And Lowering Cholesterol
Its very important to talk to your health professional before using any:
- natural remedies
- or complementary therapies.
Sometimes they can do more harm than good. They may interact with any medication that youre taking, which can be dangerous. They can also make your medication less effective. Your doctor needs to know everything that you are taking to ensure that the combination is safe.
If youve been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor. This is one of the most effective ways to keep your cholesterol levels down.
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What You Can Do
Learn the basics: âYour cholesterolâ isnât just one number, but several that together give your doctor a âlipid profile.â Unhealthy levels are linked to hardening of the arteries, which can cause heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your numbers include âbadâ and âgoodâ cholesterol, and triglycerides. Armed with this knowledge, and with the help and guidance of your doctor, you can start to understand and manage your own levels.
Get tested: Because unhealthy cholesterol numbers often donât cause symptoms, especially at first, itâs important to get tested. You can be slim and feel healthy and still have a cholesterol problem. Once you know thereâs a problem, you can try to change it through diet, lifestyle, and, if necessary, medication. But youâre unlikely to do that if you donât know about it. If youâre 20 or older, you should get your levels checked every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor should test you more often if youâre overweight or diabetic or you have heart disease.
Exercise: Regular exercise is one of the best ways to control your cholesterol. You donât have to run a marathon. A half-hour or so of brisk walking, swimming, or dancing three or four times a week should do the trick. If youâre short on time, you can break it into 10-minute increments throughout the day. Resistance training — pushups, pullups, weights — may help too.
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Peripheral Arterial Disease
PAD can build up over a lifetime, and the symptoms may not become obvious until later in life. For many people, the outward symptoms will not appear until the artery has narrowed by 60 percent or more.
The first noticeable symptom of PAD may be intermittent claudication — leg discomfort, pain or cramping that develops with activity, is relieved with rest, and recurs upon resuming activity. The pain is often noticed in the calf, but may also be felt in the buttocks or thighs. Intermittent claudication symptoms may also include numbness, weakness, heaviness or fatigue in the leg muscles when walking that are relieved at rest. The pain can be severe enough to interfere with normal walking. This type of cyclical pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the leg muscles and goes away at rest because the muscles require less blood flow at rest.Other symptoms of advanced PAD may include:
- A burning or aching pain in the feet and toes while resting, especially at night while lying flat
- Cool skin in the feet
- Redness or other color changes of the skin
- Increased occurrence of infection
- Toe and foot sores that do not heal
Many people with PAD do not have any symptoms.
Surprising Body Cues That Could Be A Heart Concern
The classic signs of heart troublechest tightness, pressure or painare far from its only signals. People often fail to connect other symptoms theyre experiencing to their actual cause: the heart. This can result in failing to get the help they need for an emergency heart issue, like heart attack or stroke, or a critical delay in getting possible heart disease diagnosed and treated.
Most people know their bodies better than any doctor does. In general, if you constantly feel something isnt right or isn’t what youre used to, that warrants medical attention, says Parag Joshi, M.D., a cardiology fellow with the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Your whole body can be involved in sending the message that somethings wrong with your heart.
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What Are The Conditions Associated With Pad
If left untreated, patients with PAD can develop serious health problems, including:
- Heart attack: permanent damage to the heart muscle caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart for an extended time
- Stroke: interruption of the blood flow to the brain
- Transient ischemic attack : a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain)
- Renal artery disease or stenosis: a narrowing or blockage of the artery that supplies blood to the kidney
- Amputation: the removal of part or all of the foot or leg , especially in people who also have diabetes
Living With High Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, you are twice as likely to develop heart disease. That is why it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. Reducing your LDL bad cholesterol through good diet, exercise, and medicine can make a positive impact on your overall health.
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/6signs Of The High Cholesterol In Legs
Unhealthy lifestyle habits open a wide door to multiple health concerns. One of them is high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is produced by the liver for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and balancing hormones. Being insoluble in water, cholesterol is transported to different parts of the body through a particle called lipoprotein, which has a specific protein on its surface. Only when cholesterol combines with the high fat and low protein content lipoprotein to form Low-density lipoproteins then it be harmful to the body. This problem arises when your diet is rich in unhealthy fatty foods and on top of that, you live a sedentary life. The LDL starts building in the arteries, blocking and narrowing them, which over time can lead to heart attack and stroke.
Physical Signs Of High Cholesterol You Should Know About
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is developed naturally in the body. It performs several vital functions like rebuilding walls surrounding the bodys cells and converting basic materials into certain hormones.
You only need a small amount of cholesterol and almost all of them are produced by your body. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver. The rest of them come from your diet. This kind of dietary cholesterol is present in foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. For this reason, knowing the cholesterol levels in your blood is quite important to prevent any future heart disease and blockages of blood vessels.
There are two main types of cholesterol you should be aware of:
- high-density lipoprotein , or good cholesterol
In other words, high levels of LDL cholesterol can cause more plaque accumulation and increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and other diseases. On the other hand, high levels of HDL cholesterol can actually help prevent heart attacks and strokes. HDL gains its good name by removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and bringing it back to the liver where the excessive LDL cholesterol is broken down.
Risk Factors for High LDL Cholesterol
Physical Signs of High Cholesterol Levels
1. Sore Hands and Feet
2. Frequent Tingling
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How To Prevent High Cholesterol
As with many other conditions, preventing high cholesterol from occurring in the first place is better than a cure because of the range of controllable risk factors. To prevent high cholesterol, you should:
Eat a nutritious diet low in fat and salt
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Quit or avoid taking up smoking
Ensure you get regular exercise
Manage your stress levels.
If you think you may be at risk of high cholesterol levels, or if you havent had your cholesterol levels checked recently, contact your GP today.
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.
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How To Balance Your Cholesterol Without Using Medication
Youve been told for years to stop eating high-fat foods theyll only raise your cholesterol . But a lot of new research suggests this simply isnt true. Researchers got on the fat is bad train way back in the 1950s. And that belief system has maintained a firm grip on our consciousness for the last 60+ years. Even when new research suggests this simply isnt the case.
The cholesterol you consume in your diet has little to no impact on your blood levels of cholesterol. Now let me insert an exception to this rule those with specific genetic traits will see an increase in their blood cholesterol levels as a result of the food they eat. For the other 75% of you, your food will not impact your cholesterol. Bring on the keto diets!
If fat doesnt alter your cholesterol, what does?
A modern, industrialized diet. More specifically, a diet high in refined carbohydrates. A diet high in refined carbohydrates negatively aggravates cholesterol levels and is associated with increased triglycerides and small LDL particles, decreased HDL, diabetes, and obesity. If you want to lower your cholesterol levels, you need to eat healthy fats. And lots of them.
You also need to significantly reduce your carbohydrate intake. Especially refined carbohydrates. A large study of low-carbohydrate diets found this type of diet decreased your risk of cardiovascular disease, lowered blood sugar levels, and even decreased inflammatory markers in your body.
Now, I want to hear from you!
Can I Live Long With High Cholesterol
Untreated or undertreated high cholesterol is associated with a lower life span due to the risk of heart attack and stroke, but its still possible to live a long life with high cholesterol, provided you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle and take medication if needed. According to a study published in April 2018 in the journal Circulation, a healthy lifestyle defined as not smoking, doing moderate exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a healthy diet was associated with an average of 14 more years of life for women and 12 for men.
Additional reporting by Erica Patino
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When To Go To The Hospital
You need to seek emergency treatment if you have any of these symptoms:
Chest pain should always be considered a serious symptom because it can indicate an emergency situation. If you’re experiencing chest pain and any of these factors apply to you, you should seek emergency care:
- You have a strong family history of early heart disease.
- You’re 45 years old or older and you have any of the risk factors for coronary artery disease, including obesity, smoking, family history, diabetes, high cholesterol, or a sedentary lifestyle.
- The pain is worse than any other chest pain you’ve had.
- The pain feels like it’s spreading to your neck, shoulders, arms, back, or jaws.
- The pain is crushing, tight, heavy, or feels like squeezing.
- You also feel nauseous, weak, short of breath, dizzy, sweaty, or you’ve fainted.
- You feel like something is very wrong.
- The pain keeps getting worse as the minutes pass.
- The pain is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Heart Attack Symptoms
If you have symptoms of a heart attack, be sure to seek emergency medical care. These symptoms include:
- Chest or arm pain, pressure, or discomfort that may spread to your neck, back, or jaw
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and loss of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
If you’re with a loved one and suspect he or she is having a stroke, use these measures to help you determine if there’s a problem:
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Collapsing suddenly
Who Is At Risk For Xanthoma
Talk to your doctor about your risk and what you can do to minimize the chances of developing the condition.
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Naturally
For many people, revamping everyday habits can go a long way toward lowering cholesterol without medication. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can be made, and they fall under the categories of diet and exercise, says Dr. Khandwalla.
Eating heart-healthy foods is a great place to start. This means reducing your intake of red meat and full-fat dairy products, both of which contain saturated fats that raise cholesterol. Instead, focus on eating lean proteins chicken, turkey, seafood and adding more soluble fiber to your diet from fruits, vegetables, and oatmeal, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute . Getting aerobic exercise most days of the week can also help lower cholesterol.