What Happens If Cholesterol Is High? How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Quickly?

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High Cholesterol, also known as Hypercholesterolemia, is a condition characterized by elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol is a fatty substance essential for the body’s normal functioning, but too much can lead to health problems, particularly heart diseases.

It is also a global health concern contributing to the burden of cardiovascular diseases, making it an active field of research. However, no information about the condition as a whole can be disregarded. People need to know more and better about the disease to help prevent it from growing inside themselves and their loved ones. This article can give you a detailed idea about all the things you need to know about the disease.

How Does Your Body Feel When You Have High Cholesterol? Symptoms Of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol doesn’t cause any visible symptoms and therefore is known as the silent killer. Most individuals are not even aware of their elevated pressure conditions until they experience consequences related to it. The symptoms of high cholesterol are often associated with the effects of this condition on the cardiovascular system including:

  1.  Angina– It is a chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough oxygen-rich blood. It can cause pain and discomfort in the arms, chest, neck, jaw, and back. People are also known to experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, and heavy sweating. 
  2. Heart Attack– This happens when the flow of blood to a part of the heart is stopped and throws a blood clot. Severe chest pain or discomfort in the surrounding areas along with uneasiness and loss of consciousness.
  3. Stroke- Stroke happens predominantly when the brain doesn’t get enough blood or oxygen forcing it to shut down. It is usually accompanied by multiple symptoms ranging from fainting to slurry speech and impaired senses.
  4. Peripheral Artery Disease– The situation is said to occur when the arteries have a buildup of plaque in them and are no longer suitable for blood transportation. Its symptoms are pain and numbness, sweating profusely and sores on the feet making us unable to walk or move freely.
Lowering High Cholesterol

Types Of High Cholesterol 

There are two types of cholesterol :

1. Low-Density Lipoprotein Or Bad Cholesterol

Composed of lipids and proteins, it has copious amounts of cholesterol in itself. Though cholesterol is necessary and is formed in the liver it is then transported to other body parts, over time it can lead to multiple problems as it may accumulate in the arteries and block them.

Therefore, these are known as bad cholesterol. According to doctors, bad cholesterol should be in lower levels as even a slightly higher amount could narrow down the blood vessels.

2. High-Density Lipoprotein Or Good Cholesterol

Though the composition is similar, HDL is high in proteins and therefore is called good cholesterol. Its primary function requires it to transport excess cholesterol from other organs to the liver and then control the amount spread in the body. The levels of HDL in the body could be optimum but otherwise, it won’t affect your health HDL.

Causes Of High Cholesterol

Some of the causes of high cholesterol include:

1. Unhealthy Diet

Eating fatty foods full of fats and transfats is one the primary reasons for developing high cholesterol. The fat from the foods could seep into our liver and make way to our arteries which makes it difficult to carry blood.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A lifestyle that promotes long hours of sitting at a particular place could also lead to multiple issues. As the muscles don’t move, energy is not burnt and the fat accumulates.

3. Obesity

Eating junk food in large amounts and a sedentary lifestyle could culminate into obesity in the long run. Fats are hard to digest and since there is no work happening to work them off, they are a part of the body and thicken the arteries.

4. Genetics

Though we can control cholesterol a lot, there are genetic factors at play when it comes to high cholesterol. People with cholesterol in the family could have a higher probability of developing heart diseases later on.

5. Age And Gender

Your age and gender also be a determinant as women are more prone to developing heart diseases and persons above 40 have to be cautious about their cholesterol levels.

Prevention Of High Cholesterol

Preventing high cholesterol levels from causing problems involves leading a healthy lifestyle which could be:

1. Eating A Healthy Diet

This means not eating junk food and controlling the amount of fats and carbs you consume. A balanced diet consists of eating whole grains, leafy vegetables, and fruits. A high amount of lean meat should also keep you full for longer times which can curb cravings and affliction towards fatty foods.

2. Regular Exercise

Doing regular exercise consists of at least 30 minutes of aerobic and anaerobic exercises for 20 minutes. You could either opt for a home workout or one in a gym in the presence of a trainer.

3. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not only problematic for the lungs but also the heart. HDL levels could lower when one adopts smoking as a habit which is not ideal for your health and circulatory system.

4. Limit Alcohol Intake

Alcoholism can also increase the LDL cholesterol which could char the arteries again becoming one of the main causes of heart diseases.

Treatment Of High Cholesterol

Treatment could include:

1. Statins

They lower the LDL level and may also affect raising the good cholesterol.

2. Ezetimibe

This medication reduces the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract.

3.PCSK9 Inhibitors

These newer medications can lower LDL cholesterol levels significantly.

4. Bile Acid Sequestrants

These drugs help lower LDL cholesterol by increasing the removal of bile acids from the body.

Treatment Of High Cholesterol

Sum Up

High cholesterol can lead to various problems in our body. This doesn’t mean it is not necessary. The main idea is to strike a healthy balance between the two by following a strict and clean lifestyle. Not only should you eat clean but also drink water and stay away from any substances that could harm your body in the long run.

Additionally, those who are genetically predisposed must be extra cautious and try to control their habits more than others. Additionally, after crossing a certain age you should visit your doctor regularly to ensure your body is in good condition.

References:

  1. Pokhrel B, et al. (2021). PCSK9 inhibitors.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448100/
  2. LDL and HDL cholesterol: “Bad” and “good” cholesterol. (2020).
    https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/ldl_hdl.htm
  3. Causes of high cholesterol (2020).
    https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/causes-of-high-cholesterol

Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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