If you’re looking into cholesterol signs, symptoms and treatments, then then there’s a good chance you’ve been told that you’re at risk of having high cholesterol by your doctor. High cholesterol can prompt a range of health problems, including issues with your heart, and a larger risk of stroke.
Cholesterol is the fat-like waxy substance that the human liver naturally produces. Although a lot of people think of cholesterol in negative terms, it’s important to remember that this substance is crucial for a lot of bodily functions, including vitamin D synthesis, cell membrane formation, and hormone management. Unlike other important bodily substances, cholesterol is not water dissolvable, which means that it needs to hitch a ride to move through your body.
Specific particles called “lipoproteins” are responsible for transporting cholesterol throughout the bloodstream. There are two major types of lipoproteins in the human system, with the first known as “low density lipoproteins” or LDL. LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad” type of cholesterol, because it has the potential to stick to your arteries and build up over time and lead to severe health problems, including strokes and heart attacks.
On the other hand, the body also produces something called high-density lipoproteins to carry cholesterol, and these are known as “good” cholesterol because they have been found to help clear the LDL cholesterol from your arteries.
How Do You Get High Cholesterol?
When it comes to understanding cholesterol signs, symptoms and treatments, one of the first things you’ll need to know is that you can end up with high cholesterol when you eat too many foods that contain high levels of fat. When your LDL levels are too high, you might be diagnosed with a condition known as hyperlipidemia, which simply means that you have too much cholesterol.
Also, if your HDL cholesterol is too low, and your LDL levels are too high, then fatty deposits could begin to build within your blood vessels. This eventually makes it difficult for you to move blood effectively through your arteries, causing problems throughout the body, particularly within the brain and heart. In some cases, the problems that are caused by high cholesterol can even be fatal.
In most cases, high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily cause any distinct signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you have your levels checked as regularly as possible. If you don’t commit to regular testing, then the first time you notice a cholesterol problem may be when you suffer from a stroke or a heart attack.
Generally, significant events like cardiovascular problems don’t occur until your cholesterol levels grow so high that plaque has formed in your arteries. Eventually, this plaque can narrow the arteries, meaning that less blood can pass through and circulate around your system. Eventually, plaque formation can result in the formation of blood clots and blockages, leading to serious complications, such as a heart attack or a stroke if the blockage is located in the brain.
Diagnosing High Cholesterol:
As mentioned above, since it’s hard to be aware of the cholesterol signs, symptoms and treatments before the problem grows significant, the best thing you can to do protect your health is get regular blood tests to make sure that you know when your cholesterol is too high. This means that you’ll need to ensure that your total blood cholesterol doesn’t reach a level that’s above 250 mg per deciliter.
Today, high cholesterol can often be diagnosed quite easily with the use of a test called a lipid panel. Doctors will begin your lipid panel by taking a sample of your blood and sending it to a lab for analysis. In most cases, your doctor will request that you avoid eating anything before the cholesterol test to give the best results.
Lipid panels help to measure your full cholesterol level, your LDL cholesterol, and your HDL cholesterol. Lipid panels will also test your triglycerides. Ideally, your triglycerides should be less than 150 mg per deciliter, while your HDL levels should be 60mg or higher, and your LDL cholesterol should be 100 mg or lower.
Your total cholesterol can be diagnosed as borderline high if it’s between 200 and 239 mg per DL, however, it’s high if it’s over 240 mg per deciliter.
Treating High Cholesterol Levels:
Ultimately, the aim of coming to terms with cholesterol signs, symptoms and treatments is knowing how you can fix levels that might be unhealthy. Ideally, the treatment that your doctor suggests for your condition will be able to limit your chances of having a stroke or heart attack. Most of the time, treatment will involve a combination of medication, and lifestyle changes recommended by your healthcare professional.
Ultimately, thee way that you lower your cholesterol levels will depend on various factors, including how significant your risk of stroke or heart attack might be. Additionally, your treatment choices may depend on how you feel about taking medications on a regular basis.
If you’re comfortable with taking medication, then you may be given substances called statins, which reduce your risk level if your cholesterol is high. In some cases, statins can reduce your chances of falling victim to a stroke or heart attack, but it’s not always clear whether a statin is necessary in certain circumstances.
Regardless of whether you take medications or not, lifestyle changes will always be important to ensuring long-term success. Your doctor might suggest that you start eating heart-healthy foods to protect your cardiovascular system, or they may suggest that you should begin to take steps that will help you lose weight, such as exercising more often.
Monitoring Your Cholesterol Levels:
Sometimes, the best form of protection is prevention, and that seems to be the case with cholesterol levels. The American Heart Association recommends checking your cholesterol at least once every four to six years if you’re a generally healthy adult over 20 years old. You might be asked to get your levels checked more often if you have a high risk of cholesterol problems.
If you have a genetic background of high cholesterol, or a lot of people in your family suffer from cholesterol problems, then you might also need to have your cholesterol level checked more frequently. Because high cholesterol doesn’t show symptoms in the early stages, it’s important to keep an eye out for any signs that your LDL levels might be increasing, or your HDL levels may be decreasing.