High cholesterol symptoms, signs and risk factors

If you look up WebMD for “high cholesterol symptoms”, it will tell you that high cholesterol has no symptoms. If you look up Mayo clinic website for “high cholesterol symptoms”, it will give you signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes because high cholesterol increases your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Yes, most people with high cholesterol have no symptoms or only have symptoms of heart attacks and strokes. However, you still need to know the physical signs of high cholesterol. There are high cholesterol symptoms that you need to be aware of. There are early signs of high cholesterol that you should not ignore.

When you turn 40, you need to get your cholesterol checked even without any high cholesterol symptoms. However, if you have any of the physical symptoms of high cholesterol, you need to get your cholesterol checked early. That’s why it’s still important to learn high cholesterol symptoms, signs and risk factors, despite the fact that most people with high cholesterol do not have any symptoms.

High cholesterol symptoms, signs and risk factors;

  1. Xanthoma or cholesterol bump: should not be ignored.
  2. Xanthelasma: Eyelid cholesterol plaques
  3. Corneal arcus: grayish or yellowish opaque colored ring or arc around the eyes
  4. Obesity
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Sedentary Lifestyle
  7. Increased abdominal girth
  8. Type 2 diabetes symptoms
  9. Symptoms of low thyroid
  10. Symptoms of coronary heart disease at a young age
  11. Symptoms of stroke or mini stroke at a young age
  12. Symptoms of poor blood circulation in the legs
  13. Erectile dysfunction in men
  14. History of parents or close relatives having heart attacks or strokes at a young age

High cholesterol symptoms in the eyes

High blood cholesterol symptoms eyes XanthelasmaEyelid cholesterol plaques are one of the important high cholesterol warning signs that you can find in the eyes. These plaques are yellowish in color and they usually affect upper inner eyelids but may also affect lower inner eyelids. If you see these plaques in your eyes, you need to think about high cholesterol symptoms.
Eyes with grayish or yellowish ring around the outer cornea (corneal arcus) may be one of the physical signs of high cholesterol, especially if they are found in people under 40 years of age.

High cholesterol symptoms on the skin

A cholesterol bump is a yellow to bump in the skin with clearly visible borders. These cholesterol bumps can be found solitary or in groups. They can be present anywhere in your body. However, these are the more common areas where cholesterol bumps frequently appear: buttocks, low back, elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, or feet. Cholesterol bumps are important physical signs of high cholesterol.

Side effects of certain medications can also cause high cholesterol. Examples of cholesterol raising medications include steroids such as prednisone, certain diuretics, amiodarone, clyclosporine etc. If you are taking medications that have high cholesterol as side effects, you need to get your cholesterol checked.

Early signs of high cholesterol problems

early signs of high cholesterol problems, childhood obesityChildhood obesity may be one of the early signs of high cholesterol problems.

Signs of high cholesterol in women

Signs of high cholesterol in women may not be apparent until their hormone levels start to drop later in life. The female hormone has some protective effect on women’s cholesterol levels. However, women with any of the above 13 high cholesterol symptoms signs and risk factors need to get their cholesterol checked earlier rather than later. Women may also have atypical symptoms of heart disease and they may not be diagnosed early. That’s why it’s especially important look out for the signs of high cholesterol in women.

High cholesterol symptoms in men

High cholesterol symptoms in men includes erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction in men caused by high cholesterol is one of the manifestations of blood vessel damage caused by high cholesterol.

What is high cholesterol?

The simple answer to this question “What is high cholesterol?” has fundamentally changed in the last few years. Cholesterol level in not a single number anymore. High cholesterol numbers include different types of cholesterol and fats in the blood.

High cholesterol numbers

High cholesterol numbers that you can use to interpret your blood cholesterol comes from a simple blood test called fasting lipid profile. Fasting lipid profile gives you total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

Here are the high cholesterol numbers you need to know:

Total cholesterol: Ignore this number. This number, in itself, is not useful anymore.

LDL cholesterol: This is the bad cholesterol number. It is one of the most important high cholesterol numbers. Optimal LDL cholesterol number is less than 70mg/dl. LDL cholesterol number of 190mg/dl is very high and will need treatment with a statin drug in most patients. LDL cholesterol numbers between 70mg/dl and 189mg/dl needs treatment if you have risk factors for heart attack and strokes.Based on recent studies, they don’t recommend further classifying the LDL cholesterol levels between 70mg/dl and 190mg/dl.

HDL cholesterol: This is the good cholesterol. A higher HDL cholesterol number is considered better for you. Higher than 60mg/dl is a good HDL cholesterol number. Lower than 40mg/dl is too low. However, these HDL cholesterol numbers are not used in isolation these days. HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol numbers help identify your risk for heart attacks and strokes when used with other personal data in the risk factor calculator.

Triglycerides: Visit this article on high triglycerides symptoms to understand this number.

What is a good cholesterol level?

Based on recent research and recommendations, there is no single answer to the question “What is a good cholesterol level?”

A good cholesterol level for you depends on your risk factors for heart attack and strokes. If you already had a heart attack or stroke, no cholesterol level is good enough for you. You still need statin medication to lower your bad cholesterol further down.

If you are healthy and physically active and don’t have any other risks for heart attacks and strokes, you only need to look at your LDL cholesterol level. If your LDL is less than 189mg/dl, you are good. You just need to keep your healthy lifestyle.

What causes high cholesterol? What causes ldl cholesterol to be high?

When we speak of high cholesterol causes, we are mainly talking about high LDL cholesterol causes. We want HDL cholesterol to be high.

Here are some of the high cholesterol causes:

  1. Genetics
  2. Eating foods that cause high cholesterol
  3. Physical inactivity
  4. Obesity
  5. Male sex
  6. Age

Your genetic profile is the most important factor that causes LDL cholesterol to be high. If you inherited the genes that cause high cholesterol, you will develop high cholesterol symptoms.

Foods that cause high cholesterol

Recent medical research has drastically changed our understanding of foods that cause high cholesterol. They used to think that foods high in fat and cholesterol were the kind of foods that caused your blood cholesterol to go up. However, they have realized that eating cholesterol does not raise cholesterol. Eating fat may raise or lower your LDL cholesterol depending on what type of fat you eat.

Good fats(unsaturated natural fats) decrease your LDL cholesterol. Bad artificial fats( trans-fat or hydrogenated fat) raises your cholesterol levels. The jury is still out on natural saturated fat.

Artificial fats are the worst foods that cause high cholesterol. Here is a list of such foods to avoid for high cholesterol:

  1. Anything that lists partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient
  2. Non-dairy creamer
  3. Certain cake frosting
  4. Certain vegetable shortening
  5. Artificial butter
  6. Margarines made with hydrogenated vegetable oil
  7. Frosted donuts
  8. Deep fried foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

In conclusion, the most important foods to avoid for high cholesterol includes anything with unnatural, artificial or industrially manufactured fat.

Causes of high cholesterol levels in women

In general, causes of high cholesterol levels in women are similar to causes of high cholesterol in men. However, men have higher risk of high cholesterol than women. The risk of high cholesterol in women start to go up after menopause and gradually increase with age. The hormonal changes associated with menopause seem to be the causes of high cholesterol levels in women in the post-menopausal state.

How to lower cholesterol naturally?

If you have a history of heart attacks or strokes, you should not rely on ways to lower LDL cholesterol without drugs. If you at high risk for heart attacks and strokes, you need to take statins( a class of medications to treat high LDL) in addition to following these recommendations to lower cholesterol naturally.



Diet for high cholesterol

Dietary changes are the most effective ways to lower cholesterol naturally. The most common mistake people make when looking for foods to lower cholesterol is that they look for low cholesterol food list. It is a myth that low cholesterol food lowers your cholesterol level. Food that are low in cholesterol (low cholesterol food list) are not the same as foods to lower cholesterol. Eating cholesterol is not the main cause of high cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made inside your body.

Here are some of the foods to eat to lower cholesterol

Foods high in fiber: Medical research on oatmeals and cholesterol has shown that foods high in fiber can lower cholesterol significantly. So, how much does oatmeal lower cholesterol? The answer is anywhere from 7% to 15% in different studies. Most studies had participants taking one to one and a half cup of oatmeal. Here are some other foods to eat to lower cholesterol by increasing fiber in your diet: Oat bran, whole grains, brown rice, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, whole barley, eggplants, okra, and soybeans.

Foods high in good natural fats: Fatty fish, olive oil, avocado, nuts etc

Foods high in pectin: Apples, grapes, strawberries, and other citrous fruits

Exercise for high cholesterol

After diet, regular long term exercise is one of the most effective ways to lower LDL cholesterol without drugs.

How to raise hdl cholesterol naturally?

Most of the natural ways to lower LDL cholesterol without drugs also help raise HDL cholesterol naturally. The most important foods that raise HDL cholesterol naturally includes foods high in natural good fats such as nuts, olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado. Foods high in pectin and antioxidants such as fresh fruits and vegetables also help increase HDL.