Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
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.
What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Cholesterol tests are usually done in the morning, as you may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours prior to the test.
You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for cholesterol. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include some kind of device to prick your finger. Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully.
Also, be sure to tell your health care provider if your at-home test results shown your cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl.
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More Connections Between High Cholesterol And Diabetes
Smaller, denser LDL-C molecules
LDL-C cholesterol levels in people with diabetes can underestimate the cardiac risk that is posed. Borderline high LDL-C levels, along with Type 2 diabetes pose a 2 to 3 times greater risk for CVD than for people without diabetes. The LDL-C particles are proportionally smaller and are denser in people with diabetes. These particles are more likely to invade the walls of arteries and cause a significant cardiovascular problem. This typically leads to more hardening of the arteries in people with diabetes due to the small and dense LDL-C particles.
There is also a relationship between the smaller, denser, LDL-C molecules and an increase in triglycerides. It is the insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity that is the metabolic syndrome of diabetes that causes elevated triglycerides. Insulin resistance in muscles converts carbohydrate energy into triglycerides that are generated in the liver. This tends to make VLDL-C, which means that the LDL is loaded down with triglycerides. It is in persons with greater than 100 mg/dl triglycerides that we see the smallest and densest VLDL-C particles forming. This in turn increases cardiovascular disease since these small particles of bad cholesterol are predominant in the bloodstream.
Is it correct to focus on LDL-C lowering therapy for those with diabetes?
Intensive therapy to lower LDL-C
Higher insulin levels raise LDL-C levels, lower HDL-C levels, and raise triglyceride levels
What Can I Do To Prevent These Problems
High cholesterol doesnt have any symptoms, but its easily detected with a routine blood test. While it can lead to very serious health problems, there are several ways you can improve your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of complications.
Maintain a healthy diet. That means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly processed carbohydrates, and low-fat dairy products instead of high-fat dairy products. Stick to lean sources of protein, eat nuts and beans for snacks, and lower your intake of red meat, sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats.
Stay physically active and try to spend less time sitting. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week, such as walking briskly, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week, such as jogging. You can also do some combination of the two. Start slowly and build up gradually towards the target levels.
Consider medication.Statins, such as and , are medications that lower your cholesterol levels. Statins can also lower your risk for heart attack and stroke if youre already at high risk due to diabetes or other conditions. is another medication that lowers cholesterol. The medication reduces cardiovascular risk in people who are already at high risk, and it may be appropriate for people who cant take statins or who need more intense treatment in combination with statins.
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How My Dog Helps Motivate Me To Manage My High Cholesterol
This post is sponsored by Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
As a wellness author and speaker, people often ask me questions about cholesterol and heart disease. In partnership with Take Cholesterol to Heart, Im answering some of the most common questions. Want to learn more? Be sure to visit Take Cholesterol to Heart for more information on managing your cholesterol levels.
Q: I know that exercise is an important piece of a cholesterol management plan, but I find it hard to get motivated. Do you have any advice?
A: Yes! As the video below shows, partnering with an enthusiastic exerciser is a great way to help stay motivated in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and keep your risk factors for heart disease at bay. Ask yourself who in your life enjoys exercise. Maybe it is your spouse, a friend or your dog. Letting them help get you up and moving can make a big difference in your health. For me, once I get started, I can take that daily walk. It helps to have someone making puppy dog eyes at me!
Q: How does exercise help lower my cholesterol levels?
Q: What if diet and exercise alone dont work to manage cholesterol?
Q: What can I eat to lower my cholesterol levels?
Q: What does high cholesterol feel like?
Q: What is the difference between good and bad cholesterol?
Q: I feel better when I dont take my statin. Why do I need it?
Dont let high cholesterol sneak up on you! Make an appointment with your doctor today.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
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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.
Articles On High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in certain foods from animals, such as dairy products, eggs, and meat. The body needs some cholesterol in order to work. But too much cholesterol can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Many things contribute to high cholesterol, some of which you can control and others you can’t.
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What Causes High Cholesterol If I Eat Healthy Can It Be Genetic
If you eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise but still have high cholesterol, your DNA may be a bigger factor than your lifestyle. About 1 in 250 people in the United States live with familial hypercholesterolemia , a life-threatening inherited disorder that causes high cholesterol.
Unfortunately, 90 percent of people who have it dont know it, according to the FH Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Pasadena, California. Screening for high cholesterol is the only way to identify people who have FH. Because of this, all children should have a cholesterol screening once between ages 9 and 11, recommends the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If your LDL is above 100, its already considered high. If its higher than 190, you may have FH, according to leading heart groups, such as the AHA, the American College of Cardiology, and the National Lipid Association. If a parent has FH, their child has a chance of having it, too. Finding out if you have FH and getting treated if you do is vital, because having FH means your risk of heart disease is 20 times higher than that of people who dont have inherited high cholesterol, according to the FH Foundation.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cholesterol Problems
A high level of cholesterol in the blood doesn’t have obvious symptoms, but it can increase your risk for conditions that do have symptoms, including angina , high blood pressure, stroke, and other circulatory ailments. Also:
- Soft, yellowish growths or lesions on the skin called xanthomas may suggest elevated levels of cholesterol.
- Many people who are obese or have diabetes also have high cholesterol.
- In men, impotence may be caused by arteries affected by too much blood cholesterol.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Fh
Familial hypercholesterolemia can affect anyone whose family carries the genetic mutation. However, its found more frequently in those who are of French Canadian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Lebanese or Afrikaner descent. The biggest problem with FH is that more than 90% of people who have it havent been diagnosed, which means you should pay careful attention to your family history,
Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Advanced Lipid Disorders Center.
If people in your family have had heart attacks, needed stents or had bypass surgery earlier in life before age 55 in men and before 65 in women those are signals that theres something causing your family to be at higher risk for heart disease, he explains. It could be familial hypercholesterolemia.
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Why Do High Cholesterol Symptoms Develop
What is lipid homeostasis? Human lipid homeostasis is a stable & balanced fat metabolism in the body.
To maintain healthy cholesterol range body needs to carry out more complex interactions. Any disturbance to this homeostasis leads to various high cholesterol symptoms.
Why cholesterol patients have loose stool?
STOMACH pain, diarrhea, and nausea are all symptoms of gallstones – hard particles formed of cholesterol that develop in the gallbladder also, fat metabolism problems due to digestion, absorption, and or stool consistency disturbance.
Why cholesterol patients have a lack of appetite?
Chronic poor appetite or lack of appetite medically referred to as anorexia. Any persisting lack of appetite should be evaluated. Causes of loss of appetite include pregnancy, metabolic problems, liver disease, hepatitis, hypothyroidism, kidney problem, heart failure, and antibiotic use.
Why cholesterol patients experience chest or stomach distension?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This excess gas leads to chest and stomach distension.
Why cholesterol patients experience pains ?
Intestinal inflammation and small bowel bacterial overgrowth may lead to excess intestinal gas. This gas has the characteristic of moving everywhere and cause pain where it resides this causes aching pain.
Why high cholesterol causes tiredness or fatigue?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms of eyes?
Why high cholesterol have symptoms on the skin?
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Pick Up A Variety Of Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
In addition to the fiber from whole grain products, make sure to get a variety of fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps lower your cholesterol, and it also keeps blood glucose steady, helping to lower it over time. So pile on the fiber. Use fruits and veggies to snack on during the day to up your intake of these nutrient and fiber loaded foods. You can get cheaper fruits and vegetables that are in season at your local farmers market.
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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.
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Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil To Cook With
When you have high cholesterol and diabetes, you should increase the good fats, or monosaturated fats such as olive oil in your diet. In general, fats that are liquid at room temperature are better to use than fats that are solid at room temperature, such as butter, margarine, vegetable shortening, or animal fat/lard. These all contain saturated and trans fats, which will raise cholesterol, namely LDL-C and triglycerides.
What Are The Treatments For High Cholesterol
Your healthcare provider may recommend treating high cholesterol with lifestyle changes alone or in combination with medications to actively lower your cholesterol level. Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate physical exercise, and quitting smoking.
However, you may also need treatment with medications. Your doctor may order further blood tests to analyze specific inflammatory biomarkers and determine your individual need for cholesterol-lowering medication.
Medications used to treat high cholesterol include:
- Bile acid resins or sequestrants, such as cholestyramine and colesevelam , which help your body eliminate or remove cholesterol from the blood
- Ezetimibe , which prevents the absorption of cholesterol from the foods you eat
- Fibrates or fibric acid derivatives, such as fenofibrate and gemfibrozil , which help reduce triglycerides and increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein in your blood
- Niacin or nicotinic acid , which helps your body increase HDL levels while decreasing the amount of low-density lipoprotein levels and triglycerides in your blood
- Statins, such as simvastatin and , which reduce the amount of cholesterol the liver produces
You can help control your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by following the treatment plan you and your healthcare provider design specifically for you
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol on its own doesn’t usually cause symptoms. People often don’t 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 heart’s 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
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