3 Symptoms That Indicates Your Cholesterol Levels are HighJuly 16, 2021
Our human anatomy is designed to function all day and every day without taking a break. All it needs is good quality food, physical activity and a deep 8 hour sleep every night to keep the body up and running without any major issues. If any of the three, particularly the food intake goes off-track, then we start to see our health conditions change and lead to a disease or sickness.
Lipid is a type of protein that plays a crucial role in the functioning of our system, if the levels do not fall between the normal range, then it is indicative of some trouble. In this article, we walk you through what cholesterol is, 3 symptoms of high cholesterol, diagnosis, and much more.
What is Cholesterol?
Obesity is becoming common nowadays due to lesser physical activity and walking which was embedded in our daily activities in the early 90’s. Today, driving a car to even the nearest spot , addiction to television and not to mention the COVID pandemic accelerated the Work From Home style and have reduced our steps per day to less than 50 and some people often walk less than that.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 31% of Americans have high LDL cholesterol which causes major heart-related conditions and other sickness. Cholesterol is a type of protein that is soft, waxy fat that your body needs to function properly. However, a level higher than the threshold is dangerous. Too much cholesterol can lead to:
- Atherosclerosis (clogging of your arteries)
- Heart disease
Cholesterol is generally categorized as HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) also commonly known as “bad” cholesterol, and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) sometimes called “good” cholesterol, and Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of calorie storage from the food you eat.
When we consume food our body converts the calories it doesn’t need now and stores them as triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells. People who are overweight, diabetic, eat too many sweets/chocolates or consume too much alcohol can have high triglyceride levels indicative of high cholesterol levels.
To find out the cholesterol level, your physician will order a complete cholesterol test, also called a lipid panel or lipid profile. Your doctor can use it to measure the amount of “good” and “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, in your blood and assess the cause of your condition.
3 Symptoms of Abnormal Cholesterol Levels
Excess calories can lead to fat deposition on the lines of blood vessels causing blood flow congestion. Obesity is also one of the high-risk factors for high cholesterol and often heart disease. Too much cholesterol in your arteries may lead to a buildup of plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis. Excess cholesterol buildup may reduce blood flow and oxygen to major organs.
Lack of oxygen to your organs or arteries may lead to kidney disease or peripheral arterial disease and many other severe health conditions. This can increase the risk of blood clots due to flow congestion in your arteries. In some cases, the blood clot breaks away and blocks an artery in your heart resulting in a heart attack or travels through and clots the brain and causes a stroke.
Following are the 3 commonly seen symptoms for high cholesterol levels –
1. Chest pain
Chest pain is the first most common symptom of high cholesterol. As the unused excess calories keep depositing as triglycerides in the blood cells, it results in the clotting of the blood vessel. When you experience mild chest pain without any known cause like a sports injury, then get checked for your cholesterol levels and consult your doctor.
2. Heart attack
A sudden heart attack in a person who had no cardio problems or any health issues in the past years suggests that too much cholesterol has been accumulating over a long period of time resulting in blood flow congestion and heart attack. Most heart attacks are caused due to high cholesterol levels.
3. Obesity, smoking and being alcoholic
High cholesterol diets like red meat, full-fat dairy products, saturated fats, trans fats, and processed foods can contribute to the faster deposition of bad cholesterol unless you work out on a daily basis. A large waist circumference (over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women) is a significant risk factor, as it is considered obese according to BMI.
According to a 2013 study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), people who have smoking habits typically have lower HDL cholesterol than nonsmokers. Quitting smoking can increase HDL and reduce the chances of heart diseases.
How to Test for High Cholesterol?
Getting tested for cholesterol once in a while is very important if you have any of the following:
- Family history of high cholesterol/heart disease
- Cigarettes/tobacco smoking
- Doesn’t work out
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, polycystic ovary syndrome, or high blood pressure, or if you’re taking medication to control your cholesterol levels, you should check your cholesterol every year to prevent any serious health conditions from happening.
To get your cholesterol levels accurate, your doctor may ask you to fast for 9 to 12 hours before having your cholesterol levels tested – that is, avoid eating or drinking anything before your test. Diagnostic testing providers like DxSaver.com will save you time finding your nearby lab for your cholesterol test.
Can High Cholesterol Levels be Treated?
High LDL (“bad” cholesterol) is the main cause of major cholesterol problems. High cholesterol can be easily brought down by changing lifestyle activities. Following are some foods to consider taking if you have high cholesterol –
- Reduce saturated fats like red meat and full-fat dairy products
- Eliminate trans fats like fried items
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish and walnuts
- Increase soluble fiber
If the levels are too high medication will be prescribed by your doctor. Along with changes in diet, some lifestyle changes would be recommended-
- Quit smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption
- Exercise on a daily basis, at least 20 minutes of a moderate-intensity session will help keep you off excess fat
High cholesterol is not a life-threatening issue unless it is addressed at the earliest stage. If you’re a man, get your cholesterol levels checked regularly, starting by age 35 or younger. If you’re a woman, you should begin routine cholesterol screening by age 45 and below.
To be on the safe side, it is recommended to get your cholesterol tested every five years from the age of 20. Keeping yourself proactive and avoiding a high cholesterol diet can help you stay away from heart diseases and blood clots.