High cholesterol: 10 symptoms not to be underestimated
High cholesterol also known as hypercholesterolemia is a major alteration of fat metabolism. To understand if you suffer from high cholesterol you need to pay attention to some symptoms that occur when you suffer from this condition. It is a condition that puts the health of those who suffer from it at risk as it increases the cardiovascular risk (stroke and heart attack). But what is high cholesterol really and what is the cause and the most effective treatment? Let’s start by saying that cholesterol and triglycerides are important values to keep under control with regular blood tests and that both are conditioned by numerous factors, such as diet or genetic predisposition. Familial hypercholesterolemia predisposes to early cardiovascular complications from arteriosclerosis.
What is cholesterol
Cholesterol is a lipid molecule present in our body and important for carrying out numerous physiological functions. It is essential for life because it is a component of cell membranes, at the base of the synthesis of steroid hormones, bile and vitamin D. Not all cholesterol is “bad”. We distinguish between good and bad cholesterol:
- HDL (high-density lipoprotein: Hight-Density-Lipoprotein) is considered “good cholesterol” and is also called a “scavenger”, in fact they are lipoproteins with a balancing action and transport cholesterol from the peripheries to the liver for its elimination with bile, reducing its deposit in the arteries.
- LDL (low-density lipoprotein, acronym for Low-Density-Lipoprotein), on the other hand, are lipoproteins that convey cholesterol towards the peripheries and, if in excess, promote its deposit in the arteries, hindering the correct flow of blood. High levels of LDL can create thickening and plaques that end up obstructing the vessel walls, favoring vascular ischemia, vessel ruptures, hypertension and therefore the onset of atherosclerosis and increasing cardiovascular risk.
High cholesterol symptoms
In most cases, high cholesterol is asymptomatic, that is, it does not manifest itself in any way. In the long run, fat deposits can contribute to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques so it is not uncommon to discover that you have hypercholesterolemia only when the first signs of atherosclerosis have appeared. But to understand if you suffer from high cholesterol you can pay attention if you have these symptoms, let’s see which ones:
Inflammation and numbness of the limbs: Inflammation and the sensation of numbness in the limbs are some of the initial symptoms of hypercholesterolemia. These reactions are produced because the accumulated lipids prevent excellent circulation, and therefore the passage of oxygen and nutrients towards the muscles decreases.
Halitosis: typical symptom of hypercholesterolemia. Bad breath, known as halitosis, is a very common sign in patients with cholesterol problems. Since this substance is produced by the liver, its excessive accumulation generates severe difficulties in the digestive process, which results in dryness and unpleasant odors in the mouth.
Heaviness and indigestion: High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) can become triggers of continuous episodes of indigestion and heaviness. The excess of lipids in the blood and liver damages the metabolism and prevents a good digestive process, especially if you ingest foods with a high fat content.
Nausea and headache: as cholesterol is deposited in the arteries, circulation begins to be difficult and cellular oxygenation is interrupted. This manifests itself through continuous nausea, loss of balance and severe tension-type headaches.
Vision problems: Excess cholesterol leads to the development of vision problems which, if not kept under control in time, can end up causing irreversible damage. It is very common for patients to have a yellowish color in the eyes, irritation and blurred vision.
Constipation: the accumulation of lipids in the arteries damages our digestive functions. As intestinal motility decreases, severe episodes of constipation occur. Although this disease can develop due to multiple factors, it would not hurt to consider the cholesterol hypothesis as well.
Chest pain: Chest pain is a particularly easy symptom to perceive. This is almost always a reason that leads us to see a doctor immediately. Although the diseases associated with its occurrence are many, most of the cases have to do with the effects of hypercholesterolemia. The accumulation of fat in the arteries makes it more difficult for the blood to pump and, as a result, can lead to hypertension.
Weakness and Fatigue: Feeling of weakness, fatigue, and the desire to sleep at inappropriate times can occur due to:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Excess of physical activity
- Some diseases
What few people know is that, when this condition occurs continuously, it can be an obvious sign of hypercholesterolemia. Since, as already mentioned, this substance intervenes in the circulation and in the cellular oxygenation process, physical and mental weakening occurs.
Skin diseases: Hives and other skin disorders can appear when the body has difficulty regulating cholesterol levels. These conditions are manifested by reddish spots, inflammation and an annoying itchy sensation, often difficult to control.
Food intolerances: People who suddenly have food intolerances can have high blood cholesterol levels. Although such conditions can be caused by many factors, excessive accumulation of fat in the arteries and liver can be a trigger. It usually occurs after eating meat or foods rich in fat.