High cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in every cell of your body. Your liver makes most of it, and the rest comes from the food you eat. Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque in your arteries that can lead to heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
What is high cholesterol?
High cholesterol is a condition in which there is an excess of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in the food we eat and is also produced by the liver. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it can deposit cholesterol on the walls of arteries, making them hard and narrow. HDL, on the other hand, is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from the arteries.
Signs and symptoms of high cholesterol may include:
-Fatty deposits on the skin (xanthomas)
-Yellowish patches on the whites of the eyes (jaundice)
If you think you may have high cholesterol, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly,
What are the signs and symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol usually doesn’t have any symptoms, so you may not know you have it. A simple blood test can check your cholesterol levels.
If your cholesterol is high, you’re more likely to develop heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. High cholesterol can also cause strokes.
There are two main types of cholesterol: LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL is the “bad” cholesterol because it builds up in your arteries and can block them. HDL is the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL from your arteries.
You can have high levels of both LDL and HDL and still be at risk for heart disease. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked by a doctor and to understand your numbers.
How is high cholesterol diagnosed?
High cholesterol is diagnosed through a blood test called a lipid panel or lipid profile. This test measures the levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in your blood. Your doctor may also order a fasting lipid profile, which requires you to fast (not eat or drink) for 9 to 12 hours before the test.
How is high cholesterol treated?
High cholesterol is treated with lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication. The goal of treatment is to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise your HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. These lifestyle changes can help reduce your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your LDL cholesterol, you may need medication. Medications that can lower LDL cholesterol include statins, niacin, bile acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
Can high cholesterol be prevented?
Yes, high cholesterol can be prevented! There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing high cholesterol. First, you can eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated and trans fats. Second, you can exercise regularly. Finally, you can avoid smoking. If you have high cholesterol, there are also medications that can help to lower it.
High cholesterol is a serious condition that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. If you think you might have high cholesterol, it’s important to see your doctor for a screening. There are usually no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol, so it’s important to get screened regularly.