High Cholesterol Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment574
Your blood contains cholesterol, a waxy substance. Having too much cholesterol may increase your risk of getting heart disease even though your body needs it to build healthy cells.
If you have excessive cholesterol, fatty deposits may develop in your blood vessels. These accumulations harden over time and reduce the quantity of blood that can flow through your arteries. Sometimes these deposits might suddenly split, forming a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol is treatable and preventable even if it might be inherited because it is typically caused by bad lifestyle choices. In some situations, medicine can help decrease high cholesterol together with a healthy diet and frequent exercise.
Protein-bound cholesterol is transported via your bloodstream. A lipoprotein is a compound of proteins and cholesterol. The information provided by the lipoprotein indicates that there are several types of cholesterol.
LDL, or low-density lipoprotein. LDL, the so-called "bad" cholesterol, carries cholesterol metabolites all throughout the body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the artery walls, hardening and constricting them.
HDL, or high-density lipoprotein. Extra cholesterol is removed from your body by HDL, which then delivers it to your liver.
Triglycerides, a kind of blood fat, are frequently assessed as a component of a lipid profile. Your chance of developing heart disease may also rise if your triglyceride levels are high.
Unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels are influenced by factors you may change, such as inactivity, obesity, and a poor diet.
Additionally, other factors can be involved. For instance, your genes may make it more difficult for the liver to break down LDL cholesterol or for your body to remove it from your blood.
The following medical problems might result in abnormal cholesterol levels:
- Long-term kidney disease
Some sorts of drugs you could be taking for various health issues, such as:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Abnormal heartbeats
- Transplantation of organs
How to check if you have High Cholesterol?
Symptoms of high cholesterol do not exist. You can only find out if you have it by a blood test.
If your doctor suspects that your cholesterol level may be high, they can advise that you be tested.
Your age, weight, or another health issue (such as diabetes or high blood pressure) may be to blame for this.
The following variables may affect your likelihood of having abnormal cholesterol levels:
A bad diet. Unhealthy cholesterol levels can be caused by eating too much saturated or trans fat. Full-fat dairy foods and fatty animal cuts both include saturated fats. Trans fats can frequently be found in packaged sweets or snacks.
Obesity. People who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above are at risk of having high cholesterol.
Absence of exercise. Exercise increases the amount of HDL, or "good," cholesterol in your body.
Smoking. Cigarette smoking may lower your HDL, or "good," cholesterol.
Alcohol. A high intake of alcohol may cause your total cholesterol to increase.
Age. Even young toddlers can have high cholesterol, although adults over 40 are far more likely to have it. Your liver ages as you are less effective at eliminating LDL cholesterol.
No symptoms exist for high cholesterol. The only method to determine if you have it is through a blood test.
A person's initial cholesterol test should take place between the ages of 9 and 11, and after that, it should be repeated every five years. Every year, those over 65 should get their cholesterol checked.
Your doctor could advise more regular measures if your test results are not within acceptable ranges. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or other risk factors, your doctor may also advise more regular testing.
You may help prevent getting high cholesterol by making the same heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce your cholesterol. You may do the following to decrease your cholesterol:
- Consume a diet low in salt with a focus on fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains.
- Use animal fats in moderation and good fats sparingly.
- Get rid of excess weight and keep your weight in check.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes.
- If you do drink alcohol, do so sparingly.
- Reduce stress
The first line of defence against high cholesterol is changing one's lifestyle via activities like exercise and good eating. However, your doctor could suggest medication if you have made these significant lifestyle changes but your cholesterol levels are still high.
A lot of criteria, such as your personal risk factors, age, level of health, and potential drug side effects, might affect the choice of a medication or drug cocktail. Options include:
Statins. Statins prevent the chemical that your liver needs to generate cholesterol. Your liver as a result filters cholesterol. In addition to atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and simvastatin (Zocor), there are a number of other choices.
Inhibitors of cholesterol absorption. Your small intestine absorbs the cholesterol you eat and releases it into your bloodstream. By restricting the absorption of dietary cholesterol, ezetimibe (Zetia) lowers blood cholesterol. A statin medicine may be used together with ezetimibe.
Acid bempedoic. Despite having a more recent mechanism of action than statins, this medicine is less likely to cause muscle discomfort. LDL can be significantly reduced by increasing the maximum statin dosage with bempedoic acid (Nexletol). A combination medication called Nexlizet also contains bempedoic acid and ezetimibe.
Resins that bind bile acids. Your liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, a necessary component for digestion. The medications cholestyramine (Prevalite), colesevelam (Welchol), and colestipol (Colestid) indirectly lower cholesterol by attaching to bile acids. This lowers the level of cholesterol in your blood by encouraging your liver to make more bile acids using the excess cholesterol.
PCSK9 blockers. These drugs can boost the liver's absorption of LDL cholesterol, which lowers blood cholesterol levels. Patients with a genetic condition that causes abnormally high LDL levels or those with a history of coronary disease who are intolerant to statins or other cholesterol medications may benefit from using alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha). They are expensive and injected under the skin every several weeks.
High triglyceride medication
In the event that your triglycerides are also excessive, your doctor could advise:
Fibrates. Fenofibrate (Tricor, Fenoglide, and other brands) and gemfibrozil (Lopid), two drugs, decrease the amount of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol your liver produces and hasten the elimination of triglycerides from your blood. Triglycerides make up the majority of VLDL cholesterol. When used with a statin, fibrates might raise the chance of adverse statin effects.
Niacin. Niacin limits your liver's ability to produce LDL and VLDL cholesterol.
Niacin, however, does not outperform statins in terms of benefits. Niacin is currently only advised for those who cannot take statins because it has also been related to liver damage and strokes.
Supplements with omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can aid in triglyceride reduction. They can be purchased without a prescription or over the counter. Before utilising any over-the-counter supplements, seek your doctor's clearance. The other drugs you are taking might be affected by omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
Each person has a different level of medicine tolerance. Muscle aches and damage, reversible memory loss and disorientation, and high blood sugar are all typical statin adverse effects. Your doctor may advise liver function tests before you start taking cholesterol medication in order to track the medicine's impact on your liver.
Therapy for high cholesterol in children
For children, aged 2 and older with high cholesterol or obesity, diet and exercise are the recommended starting treatments. Extremely high cholesterol readings in children above the age of 10 may need the prescription of statins or other cholesterol-lowering medications.
Complications of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol can result in atherosclerosis, a deadly buildup of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of your arteries. These buildups (plaques) might reduce blood flow through your arteries, which could result in problems like:
Ache in the chest. If your heart's blood-supplying arteries (coronary arteries) are damaged, you may have chest pain (angina) and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
Chest pains. When plaques rip or rupture, a blood clot may develop at the site of the rupture, obstructing blood flow or rupturing and occluding an artery downstream. You will experience a heart attack if the blood supply to a portion of your heart is cut off.
Stroke. Similar to a heart attack, a stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to a part of the brain.
For further information please access the following resources:
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2023
Next review due: May 23, 2025