Here Are 7 Clear Signs That Your Cholesterol Is Too High
High cholesterol levels can be particularly dangerous as it greatly increases the risk of heart diseases, such as a stroke. Too much cholesterol leads to an excessive buildup of plaque, which means itll start narrowing or even blocking your arteries. A blood clot is often the cause of a heart attack or a stroke.
Additionally, an excessive amount of cholesterol can also lead to stiff arteries, preventing them from widening to increase the blood flow in your body.
In other words, the consequences of having high cholesterol are pretty severe. Only a doctor can reliably determine whether or not you have too much cholesterol with a blood test, but there are good indications and signs out there that could warn you of too much cholesterol in the body.
Lets take a look.
What Is The Connection Between Ldl
In a person with diabetes, there is a condition called, diabetic dyslipidemia.
It is characterized by a triad that includes:
- low HDL-C
- high LDL-C
- high triglycerides
In research, they have found that there is a link between the insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes and diabetic dyslipidemia that tends to cause people with Type 2 diabetes to get heart disease or a stroke at a younger age than people without Type 2 diabetes. Due to the size of LDL-C molecules and other factors in people with diabetes, there exists ability for diabetes to effect the lowering of the good cholesterol in the blood, all while promoting an increase in the bad cholesterol. This premature risk is all the more reason to work with your primary care provider to manage cholesterol when you have diabetes. Lifestyle habits likely play a role in the increased risk, with some people developing dyslipidemia prior to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is important to manage cholesterol for general health throughout life.
Physical Symptoms That Indicate High Cholesterol Levels:
- Pain in Hands and Feet: Accumulation of cholesterol can clog the blood vessels of legs and hands. This build-up of cholesterol can occur continuously and make the hands and feet painful.
- Frequent tingling: Interruptions in the blood flow to certain parts of the body makes a tingling sensation in hands and legs. The high cholesterol levels in the blood make the blood flow thick and affect the normal flow of blood in the nerves and cause tingling.
- Chest Pain in the Left Side: Chest pain, especially on the left side indicates blockage of blood vessels around the heart and can cause pain. Sometimes, the pain may even spread up to the neck. The high levels of cholesterol in the blood can cause chest pain and can also be a sign of heart attack.
- A Frequent headache in the back of the head: The blockage of blood vessels in the area around the head causes a headache in the back of the head. This occurs when the blood vessels are clogged by the cholesterol plaque. If this is left unchecked, the blood vessels can rupture and cause a stroke.
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Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol on its own doesnt usually cause symptoms. People often dont realize they have high cholesterol until they get tested. However, the complications that high cholesterol causes do. As arteries and other blood vessels narrow and blood flow is slowed or stopped, every part of your body can be affected.
Uncontrolled high cholesterol can lead to the following complications:
- Atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of fatty deposits in your blood vessels
- Carotid artery disease, which is narrowing of the blood vessels in the neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain
- Coronary heart disease, which is damage or disease in the hearts major blood vessels
- Heart attack
- Peripheral artery disease, which is narrowing or blockage of the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs
Symptoms of these complications can include:
- Fatty deposits of cholesterol visible from under the skin called xanthelasmas
Unhealthy Diet And Lifestyle
Do you eat lots of fatty foods and avoid fruits and vegetables that contain lots of fiber? Are you a smoker and do you love drinking alcohol in excessive amounts? Are you overweight and you are not exercising on a regular basis? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then there is a huge possibility that your cholesterol levels are already high. This is especially true is someone in your family is diagnosed by a doctor with high cholesterol.
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Numbness In The Body Parts
If you are constantly experiencing numbness in your body parts, then high cholesterol can be responsible for that. However, other causes can also be responsible for numbness and swelling.
When bad cholesterol appears high in your body, it affects blood circulation and prevents healthy nutrients from reaching the body. The lack of proper oxygen is also a cause of swelling and unusual numbness.
Myth: I Would Be Able To Feel It If I Had High Cholesterol
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too latewhen you have a heart attack or stroke. Thats why its so important to get your cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years.1,2 Learn more about getting your cholesterol checked.
Occasionally, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits. People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels.
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When Should High Cholesterol Be Treated With Medication
If youve had a heart attack, stroke, or have diabetes or been diagnosed with inherited high cholesterol, youll need to take one or more cholesterol-lowering medications, in addition to being careful with your diet and staying active. Statins can have a tremendous impact for lowering LDL cholesterol, says Khandwalla. Statins decrease your risk of illness and dying if youre in one of these high-risk groups.
In addition to statins, which should always be used first, other cholesterol-lowering drugs include fibrates, niacin, PCSK9 inhibitors, bile-acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, according to the CDC.
If you found out your cholesterol was high after a routine checkup, discuss your test results with your doctor. Your doctor will calculate your individual risk of heart attack or stroke to decide if you should be on a statin.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend giving a healthy diet and active lifestyle a try first. However, if your cholesterol levels remain high, you may need a heart scan to look for plaque buildup in your arteries, and your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to lower your heart-disease and stroke risk.
How Can You Tell If You Have High Cholesterol
You cannot feel high cholesterol, but the effects of having it can be deadly. High cholesterol, like diabetes or high blood pressure, can be present without any symptoms. This does not mean you have less to be worried about. High cholesterol can place you at serious risk of complications, including stroke or heart attack.
If you have risk factors for heart disease, you need to be tested regularly, especially as you get older. Besides high blood pressure and obesity, high cholesterol is one of the main risk factors for heart disease.
Learning what cholesterol is, the types of cholesterol, and how to lower it will significantly reduce your risk for secondary diseases. Well go over what cholesterol is, the different types of cholesterol, and testing to determine if your cholesterol is high.
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Learn More About Chest Pain
If you have questions about chest pain or any other health concerns for you or your family, contact the expert team at Calvary Medical Clinic. Were happy to help you understand whats causing your chest pain, how to reduce your pain, and how to protect your heart. for an appointment, or request a consultation using the convenient online booking tool.
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What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol
Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.
If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.
- Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.
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How Do Doctors Decide Who Is Prescribed A Statin
- Have clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease , including those with a personal history of stroke, heart attack, or peripheral vascular disease, and also those who suffer from chest pains
- Have high cholesterol
- Are age 40 to 75 and have diabetes
- Are age 40 to 75 and have an estimated 10-year risk of an ASCVD event greater than 7.5 percent
Recognizing Signs And Symptoms
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You Experience Leg Pain While Exercising
If you experience a burning pain or feel like your legs are tired or heavy it may indicate poor blood flow to your legs, which could be related to high cholesterol. Pain may impact one or both legs, as well as any part of the leg from the calf to your buttocks. Most of the time the pain subsides with rest but then reoccurs when you do the same level of activity again, such as walking two blocks.
Signs That You Have High Cholesterol & How To Maintain It
Having high cholesterol can put you at risk of developing heart problems and other serious health issues. Find out more about this condition and how you can maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a substance that your body needs in healthy amounts to function. Your body produces cholesterol naturally, but you also get more from your diet. If your cholesterol levels get too high, you face a higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke or other potentially life-threatening complications. How do you know if you have high cholesterol? Having tests done at our federally qualified health center in Arkansas and knowing certain risk factors can help you find out.
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What Does High Cholesterol Do To The Body
Having high cholesterol can lead to stiffening and narrowing of the arteries. A buildup of plaque a combination of cholesterol, fats, your cells waste products, calcium, and fibrin , explains the American Heart Association can reduce or block blood flow through the arteries. Thats why cholesterol matters: Lack of sufficient blood flow to your brain or heart can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
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How Long Does It Take For Cholesterol To Change
According to Dr. Eugenia Gianos, cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, you can lower your cholesterol levels by up to 20 percent through dietary and lifestyle changes alone, but that can vary depending on the person. We give patients three months to see what effects occur with dietary changes, she says.
Will Statins Increase My Risk For Diabetes Or Complicate My Existing Diabetes
This risk is true to some extent, but its wildly exaggerated.In fact, there are good data to show that people who have problems with their blood sugar or who have diabetes benefit most from statins. Even though their blood sugar may go up slightly, the added risk is significantly offset by the reduction in heart disease risk that a statin can provide.If youre already at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, or if you have prediabetes, you may monitor your blood glucose more closely after starting a statin. But exercise and weight loss have been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes in those with borderline blood glucose levels, regardless of statin use.
What Happens If You Have High Cholesterol
What does high cholesterol mean?
High cholesterol means there is too much cholesterol in your blood. This can clog up your arteries the large blood vessels that carry blood around your body. Over time, this can lead to serious problems.
How does cholesterol clog up your arteries?
Excess cholesterol can be laid down in the walls of your arteries. Fatty areas known as plaques can form, and these become harder with time, making the arteries stiffer and narrower. This process is called atherosclerosis.
When the arteries become narrower, its harder for blood to flow through them. This puts a strain on your heart because it has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Eventually, the heart can become weak and cant work as well as it should.
Blood clots can form over the fatty, hardened parts of the arteries. The blood clots can block the artery completely, cutting off the blood flow. Bits of the blood clots can break away and become lodged in an artery or vein in another part of the body, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.
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Treatment For Chest Pain
If you have chest pain related to plaque buildup, we recommend lifestyle changes that can protect your heart, such as:
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight if youre overweight or obese
- Becoming physically active
- Keeping your blood sugar in check if it is elevated
- Controlling your blood pressure if it is high
Lifestyle changes can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
We also may prescribe certain medications for chest pain, such as anticoagulants that help prevent blood clots. And for some patients, procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery can restore blood flow and reduce chest pain.
What Is Dangerously High Cholesterol
You may be diagnosed with borderline-high or high cholesterol if your blood test results show:
- Total cholesterol higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter
- LDL cholesterol higher than 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides over 150 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol lower than 40 mg/dL
But what do these numbers really mean for your health?
While having high cholesterol isnt something youll notice day to day, it does mean youre at risk for or may already have heart disease, the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States.
Want to know more? Here are answers to 11 frequently asked questions about high cholesterol.
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Treatment For High Cholesterol
Lifestyle changes are one of the first things your doctor will recommend for managing high cholesterol. All medications can cause side effects, including medications to lower your cholesterol, and many people can successfully lower their cholesterol without them. Your doctor will determine which treatment approach is best for you.
Lifestyle changes that can help lower your cholesterol include:
- Adenosine triphosphate-citrate lyase inhibitors
Can Statins Increase My Risk For Memory Loss Or Dementia
Memory and cognitive symptoms from statin use are very uncommon, and it is unclear if statins are really the culprit. When symptoms have been reported, theyre typically not severe and usually resolve when the statin dosage is adjusted or the medication is switched.Affected patients have reported feeling unfocused or fuzzy in their thinking, but these experiences are rare. Concerns about long-term cognitive problems and memory loss due to use of statins have not been proven. On the contrary, most recent data actually point to potential prevention of dementia due to statin use.These data are logical because one of the major causes of dementia is atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries in the brain. There is strong evidence that statins protect against atherosclerosis. Its one of the invisible benefits of taking a statin medication.Also, keep in mind that increasingly high cholesterol and memory problems both are common symptoms of aging. Sometimes its difficult to disentangle these two, and thats why statin use and memory problems may seem related at times.If youre concerned about statins and memory loss, dont stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. There may be other reasons for your memory symptoms, or alternate treatments for your high cholesterol can be considered.