Most people with high cholesterol don’t experience symptoms; instead they learn of it through a routine blood test called a “lipid panel.” If left untreated, however, elevated levels of lipids (fats) in their blood could lead to serious health risks such as cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Your body naturally produces all of the cholesterol it needs; most people with elevated cholesterol do so due to an unhealthy lifestyle; however, this condition can also run in families.
Chest pain or discomfort
There can be numerous causes for chest pain or discomfort, so it’s vital to get an accurate diagnosis. High cholesterol can narrow the arteries as plaque builds up and restricts blood flow to the heart, which may result in symptoms like chest pain, arm or jaw discomfort, sweating or shortness of breath.
Painful conditions of the heart such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse or aortic stenosis may cause discomfort; in other instances it could be the result of bacterial or viral infection affecting pleuritis (lung and chest lining inflammation).
Chest pain can range from sharp or stabbing sensations, to dull pressure-like ache that worsens with coughing, swallowing or lying down. Men are more likely than women to experience such chest discomfort on the left side.
If your chest pain is accompanied by symptoms like sweating, light-headedness or dizziness, it is critical to seek emergency medical assistance immediately and call 911 immediately – these could all be telltale signs of a potential heart attack that could prove life-threatening.
People with high cholesterol levels often develop raised bumps known as xanthomas which form under their skin due to fat and cholesterol accumulation. These raised spots often appear on elbows, knees, buttocks, armpits, chin and chest areas of older adults as well as people with diabetes and women.
Heart attacks typically present themselves with sudden and intense chest pain that spreads quickly across other parts of the body – feeling like an immovable weight on your chest can feel crushing; other areas affected may include arms, jaws, stomach, back or legs. The intensity may come and go and be worsened by eating or exercise, with frequent return occurring after heavy workouts; such an intermittent pain could indicate coronary artery disease rather than heart attack while heavy exertion causing increased symptoms may indicate pneumonia or pleuritis as potential culprits for causes for such discomfort.
Shortness of breath
Breathing is a natural part of life, yet certain conditions can make breathing harder than normal. Conditions like strenuous exercise, colds, allergies, pregnancy high altitude environments or obesity may all lead to shortness of breath in healthy individuals; if this problem has recently emerged or worsens over time it’s essential that they visit a physician promptly.
With high cholesterol, it is common for the arteries that deliver blood to your heart to become narrowed by plaque buildup, forcing your heart to work harder in pumping the blood through, potentially leading to breathlessness.
Some describe the sensation as chest tightness that makes breathing hard, while others feel they need air more than ever. It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling and be specific when reporting symptoms to doctors or health care providers.
Your doctor will ask questions about the source of your breathlessness, using a stethoscope to listen to both heart and lungs as well as examine legs for signs of swelling. They may also recommend blood tests to rule out anemia or other conditions which might contribute to shortness of breath.
If you experience sudden and severe shortness of breath, call 911 immediately. It could be a heart attack or another medical emergency, and immediate attention will need to be given in a hospital setting.
An eating regimen consisting of low-fat, whole grain, fruits, vegetables and lean meats can help your blood cholesterol levels remain steady. Furthermore, regular physical exercise helps decrease insulin resistance and inflammation levels – two key factors in the accumulation of cholesterol buildup within the blood vessels.
Diarrhea or vomiting
Diarrhea or vomiting, loose and watery bowel movements, can be an indicator of high cholesterol. If these symptoms arise frequently, they could indicate that your body isn’t receiving the required nutrition from food and beverages consumed. If these symptoms continue for more than 24 hours, contact healthcare provider immediately as this could indicate gastroenteritis – inflammation of the stomach and digestive tract – has set in.
High cholesterol levels may result in yellowing of the skin. This condition, called xanthomas, occurs when fats and cholesterol build up under the skin and accumulate. Most often found on legs but sometimes also found elsewhere on the body xanthomas can be quite painful and should be addressed immediately to avoid further discomfort.
Lipid panel tests can help identify whether or not you have high cholesterol, so a diagnosis may take time to be confirmed. If your risk factors for heart disease include high cholesterol in your family history, such as age 9 testing should become part of routine health evaluation every five years until age 45-55.
If you have high cholesterol, seeing your physician may prescribe medication or making diet changes (like cutting down on saturated fats and increasing fruits, vegetables and soluble fiber sources like beans). Regular exercise can also be an effective solution.
Stop smoking and restrict your alcohol consumption as this can raise cholesterol levels significantly. Furthermore, your doctor may suggest medications or dietary supplements as additional ways of combatting them.
Unexplained weight loss
Cholesterol is a necessary building block of cells throughout your body and is found in your bloodstream, helping digest and absorb fat. But when consumed in excess, too much cholesterol can form sticky plaque in your arteries which narrow or block them over time, increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol can often go undetected until an emergency like a heart attack or stroke strikes, so it’s wise to get regular cholesterol panels (also called blood tests ) done and consult with your physician about them.
Your liver and diet play an integral part in controlling cholesterol, so making changes to either may help lower it. Some medicines, however, may increase it; you should notify your healthcare provider if taking them.
If your family history includes high cholesterol, you are at an increased risk for it too. Some medical conditions, like diabetes or thyroid disorder, can also contribute to high cholesterol. While pregnant, your cholesterol levels can rise so high as to put both you and your unborn child at risk; this condition is known gestational hypercholesterolemia or maternal hypercholesterolemia.
Unexplained weight loss may not be the hallmark of high cholesterol, but it should serve as a warning sign. If your family history includes high triglycerides and cholesterol levels or you’re over age 40, it would be prudent to ask your physician about getting a lipid panel test done.
Lipid panels measure the amounts and types of fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, present in your blood. It is performed during routine health checks to evaluate your cholesterol levels as part of a regular health exam, with results used by your physician to judge if your cholesterol falls into an acceptable range or needs adjusting through lifestyle or medication changes. They may recommend specific dietary changes and prescribe medicines to lower them accordingly; in any event it’s essential that all medications prescribed by a healthcare professional be taken as directed as certain antipsychotics can increase your cholesterol and cause side effects such as weight gain due to side effects associated with antipsychotics medication causing increases in your cholesterol and increases.