These symptoms appear in the body when cholesterol increases
These symptoms appear in the body when cholesterol increases

Cholesterol is a critical component of our body's health, but when it starts to accumulate at higher levels, it can spell trouble. Here are the symptoms and effects that may manifest when cholesterol increases, indicating the need for action.

1. High Cholesterol: An Overview

Before we dive into the symptoms, let's understand what high cholesterol is and how it affects your health. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your cells and in the food you eat. While the body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, having high levels of it can increase the risk of heart disease. When we talk about high cholesterol, we are referring to elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often dubbed "bad cholesterol." High LDL cholesterol can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol in your blood vessels, setting the stage for various health issues. High cholesterol is a common concern and a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. It's important to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms associated with elevated cholesterol levels.

2. Silent but Deadly: High Cholesterol Often Has No Symptoms

One of the most concerning aspects of high cholesterol is that it's often asymptomatic. This silent nature makes it a "hidden" danger in your body. High cholesterol doesn't typically present itself with clear warning signs, especially in the early stages. This is why it's often referred to as a silent killer. It quietly contributes to the build-up of fatty deposits in your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

3. The Ticking Time Bomb: Atherosclerosis

High cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, a condition where arteries become narrow and clogged with cholesterol-rich plaques. This is a silent process but is dangerous in the long run. Atherosclerosis is like a ticking time bomb within your blood vessels. The gradual build-up of cholesterol plaques can restrict blood flow, increasing the risk of serious complications. Over time, these plaques can harden, leading to even more significant problems.

4. Chest Pain (Angina)

As cholesterol builds up in your arteries, it can restrict blood flow to your heart. This can result in chest pain, known as angina, which is a common early symptom. Angina is often described as a discomfort, pressure, or pain in the chest. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn't receive an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood due to narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. While angina is not a heart attack, it's a warning sign that your heart is not getting enough blood and oxygen.

5. Heart Attack

When an artery becomes completely blocked due to cholesterol buildup, it can lead to a heart attack. This is a life-threatening event that requires immediate medical attention. A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when a portion of the heart muscle is deprived of blood flow for an extended period, leading to damage or death of the heart tissue. The most common cause of heart attacks is the rupture of a cholesterol plaque, which triggers the formation of a blood clot that obstructs the artery.

6. Stroke

Cholesterol-laden plaques in the arteries can also block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. Strokes can have severe and long-lasting consequences. A stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of your brain is suddenly interrupted or reduced, leading to damage or death of brain cells. Cholesterol plaques in the carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain, can break loose and travel to the brain, causing a blockage.

7. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

Cholesterol buildup can affect other arteries in your body, leading to conditions like PAD, which reduces blood flow to your limbs. This can cause pain and difficulty walking. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition where cholesterol plaques narrow the arteries that supply blood to your extremities, most commonly the legs. Symptoms may include pain, cramping, or weakness in the legs, particularly during physical activity.

8. Xanthomas: Visible Signs of High Cholesterol

Sometimes, high cholesterol can lead to visible signs called xanthomas. These are fatty deposits under the skin, often appearing as bumps or growths. Xanthomas can be an alarming visual indication of high cholesterol levels. These deposits typically occur on tendons, especially around joints like the elbows, knees, and heels. They are typically yellowish and can vary in size.

9. Yellowish Deposits Around Eyes

High cholesterol may cause xanthelasma, which is the presence of yellowish cholesterol deposits around the eyes. These can be a visible sign of elevated cholesterol levels. Xanthelasma specifically refers to the appearance of cholesterol deposits on or around the eyelids. These yellowish patches can vary in size and shape and are often a sign of high LDL cholesterol.

10. Gallstones

Cholesterol can accumulate in the gallbladder, forming gallstones. This can lead to severe pain and other digestive issues. Gallstones are solid particles that form in the gallbladder, a small organ responsible for storing bile, a digestive fluid. Some gallstones are made of cholesterol, and their presence can lead to gallbladder pain, nausea, and other digestive problems.

11. Fatigue

If cholesterol is impacting your arteries and blood flow, you may experience fatigue due to reduced oxygen supply to your muscles and organs. Reduced blood flow to the muscles and organs can lead to fatigue and weakness. When the body doesn't receive an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients due to cholesterol-induced blockages, it can result in a persistent feeling of tiredness.

12. Difficulty Breathing

High cholesterol can increase your risk of atherosclerosis in the arteries supplying your lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. Atherosclerosis in the pulmonary arteries can reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the lungs, making it more challenging to breathe. This can be especially noticeable during physical exertion.

13. Memory Problems

Reduced blood flow to the brain due to cholesterol buildup can lead to memory problems and even cognitive decline. Cholesterol plaques in the brain's arteries can impair cognitive function, leading to memory problems, difficulties with concentration, and even more severe cognitive decline in the long term.

14. Erectile Dysfunction

Cholesterol affects blood flow, which can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a manifestation of cholesterol-related vascular issues. Cholesterol plaques can obstruct blood flow to the pelvic area, making it challenging to achieve or maintain an erection.

15. Sharp Abdominal Pain

If cholesterol blocks the blood supply to the intestines, it can cause sharp abdominal pain, indicating a medical emergency. A condition known as mesenteric ischemia can occur when cholesterol plaques obstruct the blood supply to the intestines. This can result in severe abdominal pain and is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention.

16. Confusion and Dizziness

Inadequate blood flow to the brain due to cholesterol plaques can result in confusion and dizziness. Insufficient blood supply to the brain can lead to symptoms like confusion, dizziness, and difficulty maintaining balance. These neurological symptoms can be alarming and require medical evaluation.

17. Leg Cramps

Reduced blood flow to the legs can lead to painful leg cramps, especially during physical activity. Intermittent claudication, a condition caused by reduced blood flow to the leg muscles, can result in leg cramps, pain, and discomfort during physical activities like walking or climbing stairs.

18. Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)

Cholesterol-related circulation issues can also manifest as ringing in the ears or tinnitus. Tinnitus is a sensation of ringing or other noises in the ears when there is no external sound source. Cholesterol-related circulatory problems can impact blood flow to the ears, leading to this symptom.

19. Red or Purple Toes (Livedo Reticularis)

In some cases, high cholesterol can cause a mottled discoloration of the skin, especially in the toes, known as livedo reticularis. Livedo reticularis is a skin condition characterized by a lace-like or net-like pattern of reddish-purple discoloration, often appearing on the extremities. Cholesterol plaques can affect blood flow and contribute to this skin issue.

20. Seek Medical Attention

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially when multiple symptoms occur together, it's crucial to seek medical attention. High cholesterol is a treatable condition, and early intervention can prevent severe complications. When you notice any of these signs and symptoms, it's essential not to ignore them. High cholesterol is manageable, and treatment can involve lifestyle changes, medications, and medical guidance. While some symptoms are subtle, they can be critical indicators of underlying issues. Timely diagnosis and management can significantly reduce the risks associated with high cholesterol.

High cholesterol is a silent but serious health concern. Understanding the symptoms and effects of elevated cholesterol levels can help individuals take proactive steps to manage their health. It's important to emphasize that high cholesterol is a modifiable risk factor. You can take control of your cholesterol levels through dietary choices, regular exercise, and, if needed, medication. Regular check-ups and monitoring with your healthcare provider are key to maintaining a healthy cholesterol profile and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Don't wait for symptoms to become severe. Be proactive in maintaining your cholesterol levels within a healthy range to ensure a longer and healthier life.

EAM Jaishankar Affirms India's Commitment to Free Detained Citizens in Qatar

India and Kazakhstan Launch 13-Day Joint Military Exercise, Here's What to Know

Terrorists Target Police Officer in Srinagar's Eidgah Area

Join NewsTrack Whatsapp group
Related News