Did you know that for most of us, there are no high cholesterol symptoms at all? Most times high cholesterol levels are detected from routine cholesterol blood tests or when you come down with a stroke or a heart attack. In a few cases, cholesterol may be deposited just under your skin and would show up as yellowish patches around the eyes, palm, knuckles and heels. White rings around the edge of the iris are also a very rare symptom of high levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. Cholesterol deposits under the skin are extremely rare and mostly occur in individuals with inherited high cholesterol levels.
A number of factors contribute to high cholesterol levels. Some of these factors are an inactive lifestyle, obesity, eating a diet rich in saturated fats such as animal fats and margarine, inheriting the disposition to high cholesterol levels, alcohol abuse, smoking, the presence of other diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and hypothyroidism which reduces metabolism. It’s important to note that even slender people can have high cholesterol levels if they lead a sedentary life, or eat the wrong kind of fats or have a genetic disposition.
There are two kind of cholesterol fats, good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). The good cholesterol actually removes the bad cholesterol from your blood and takes it to the liver for elimination. It also reduces the chances of LDL sticking to your arteries. LDL on the other hand, is the one that sticks to arteries and veins causing narrowing and blockage.
Since for most of us high cholesterol symptoms will not be present, we have to be vigilant and look out for the risk factors. It is also good to go in for your checkups as recommended. It is widely recommended that you should start doing cholesterol tests every five years once you become 20 years old. If your risk factors are high, then you might want to do it with your annual medical checkup. The most common test done is the cholesterol test which simply checks the overall cholesterol amount in your blood. Normal levels range from 190-210mg/dl, high levels range from 240-330mg/dl.
If you find you have high cholesterol levels and have no other symptoms, it might be good for you to go for a lipoprotein test to determine which type of cholesterol is high in your body. You want to make sure that your HDL is at least a third of your total cholesterol levels and the lipoprotein test can tell you this. Once you have confirmed this, it’s important for you to start reducing your cholesterol levels. You can reduce your cholesterol levels through exercise, eating right, reducing your intake of saturated fats and increasing your intake of HDL fats ( HDL fats can be found in omega 3 oils), stop smoking and if necessary take any medication prescribed by your doctor.
High cholesterol symptoms may not be obvious to most of us but by testing as often as is recommended by the doctor and changing our lifestyles to eliminate the risk factors that may cause cholesterol to build up in our bodies, we will be able to avoid heart disease and strokes to a large extent.