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High Cholesterol: Your Ultimate Guide to Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Home > Blogs > High Cholesterol: Your Ultimate Guide to Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

High Cholesterol: Your Ultimate Guide to Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Cardiology | by Dr. Shuvo Dutta | Published on 23/01/2024


Introduction

High cholesterol nowadays has become one of the most common conditions affecting every age group. The problem is rising because of the lifestyle we lead and hectic work schedules. Cholesterol is a condition that is widespread worldwide. Both developed and developing nations have alarming increases in high cholesterol determined by increased levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and decreased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Its prevalence is influenced by a number of factors, including dietary practices, sedentary lifestyles, and genetic predispositions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that the primary cause of death globally is cardiovascular diseases, which are usually associated with increased levels of cholesterol. To address this prevalent health issue, medical interventions, lifestyle changes, and public health campaigns are involved to lower the global burden of cardiovascular diseases and reduce the risks linked to high cholesterol. 

If you suspect you have cholesterol, then you must look out for the symptoms. However, cholesterol can occur without any existing symptoms, and chances you might not even know until it is diagnosed. The best way to diagnose the condition is to book your appointment with BM Birla Heart Research Center in Kolkata. They have highly qualified professionals who will ensure proper diagnosis and offer treatment that is suitable for you.

If you want to comprehend the causes, and what can you do once diagnosed with that condition or its reversal, then make sure to go through this write-up. In this blog, we will provide all the information related to high cholesterol. Please note that this blog is for informative purposes and we do not interfere with the doctor’s consultation.

What is High Cholesterol?

Increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood signify high cholesterol. Known as "bad" cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol accumulates in the arteries and causes plaque to form, enhancing the risk of heart disease and stroke. At the same time, low levels of HDL cholesterol, or "good" cholesterol, enhance the probability of cardiovascular disease. Dietary choices, genetics, and lifestyle factors lead to affecting cholesterol levels. Maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, involving a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and, if required, prescription medication instructed by medical professionals plays an important role in the management of cholesterol.

What are the symptoms of High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol usually doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms, it's a silent health risk. Patients usually discover they have high cholesterol through regular blood testing. On the other hand, consistently high cholesterol exasperates cardiovascular problems by causing atherosclerosis, or the hardening and narrowing of the arteries. When complications like chest pain, heart attacks, or strokes occur, symptoms can occur. To minimize the risk of complications, it's vital to follow and maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular check-ups, exercise, and a balanced diet to assess cholesterol levels. For an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment, getting in touch with a healthcare professional is essential.

What are the causes of High Cholesterol?

Various high cholesterol are there that involve dietary, lifestyle, and genetic factors. Here are some of the main causes:

  • Unhealthy Diet: Eating fried and processed foods high in saturated and trans fats leads to increased LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
  • No Exercise: A sedentary lifestyle lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the good HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, both of which are associated with weight gain.
  • Obesity: Excess weight is linked to lower HDL and higher LDL cholesterol, specifically around the waist.
  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke damages blood vessels reducing HDL cholesterol levels and facilitating the build-up of cholesterol.
  • Genetics: People who are vulnerable to high cholesterol may have familial hypercholesterolemia or be affected by other genetic factors.

How is high cholesterol diagnosed? 

High cholesterol diagnosis involves a thorough assessment consisting of the following steps:

  • Blood Tests: A lipid panel evaluates the levels of triglycerides such as HDL (high-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and total cholesterol. It's usually recommended to fast for nine to twelve hours before the blood test to obtain accurate results.
  • Risk assessment: Taking lifestyle, family history, and age into account assists in determining total cardiovascular risk.
  • Health History: Talking about one's own and one's family's medical history assists in ruling out any possible genetic mutations.
  • Physical Examination: Measuring weight, lifestyle habits, and general health offers more comprehension of the condition.
  • Extra Tests: To identify cardiovascular risk, it is often recommended to do additional tests like coronary calcium scoring or C-reactive protein (CRP).

What are the options for High Cholesterol treatment?

Managing high cholesterol needs not just a change in lifestyle but also, when required, medical interventions. The following are some ways involved in high cholesterol treatment:

  • Changes to One's Lifestyle: Eating a diet low in trans and saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains endorses heart health.
  • Frequent Exercise: Getting involved in physical activities improves general cardiovascular health, like brisk walking or aerobic exercise.
  • Weight management: It is the process of accomplishing and keeping a healthy weight with food and exercise.
  • Medication: To minimize cholesterol levels, doctors often recommend statins, bile acid sequestrants, and other prescription drugs.
  • Give Up Smoking: Quitting smoking has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and increases cardiovascular health.
  • Regular check-ups: Frequent monitoring is required to track outcomes and alter treatment regimens. This includes routine cholesterol tests and assessments of cardiovascular health.

What are the prevention tips for High Cholesterol?

Here are some of the prevention tips to avert the risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Make sure to quit smoking
  • Refrain yourself from alcohol
  • Get involves in regular exercise at least for 30 minutes a day 
  • Make sure to maintain a healthy weight 
  • Get into the habit of eating fruits and green vegetables

Conclusion

To sum up, cholesterol management is essential to prevent cardiovascular diseases and other health concerns. A healthy lifestyle that inculcates regular exercise and a balanced diet is important. Initial diagnosis through cholesterol screening allows successful interventions, including, when needed, medication and lifestyle changes. Fighting the worldwide health issue of high cholesterol needs educating people about risk factors and endorsing preventative health measures.

Faqs

 

What happens when cholesterol is high?

The risk of developing heart diseases like heart attack, stroke, etc., and other health conditions increases if the level of cholesterol is high. 

Is chicken high in cholesterol?

Chicken is not very high in cholesterol but eating regularly can pose serious health risks.