Skip to main content

Signs You Have High Cholesterol and Don't Even Know It

An estimated 94 million U.S. adults "age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Twenty-eight million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High cholesterol is a serious concern because it can lead to major issues like stroke, yet many people don't realize their cholesterol levels are too high because oftentimes there's no signs. A blood test is the only way to really know, but high cholesterol can develop into other health problems and Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Sean Marchese, MS, RN, a registered nurse at The Mesothelioma Center with a background in oncology clinical trials and over 20 years of direct patient care experience who shares how. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Why High Cholesterol is Common

closeup doctor's hand holding blood sample for cholesterol

Marchese says, "Many factors contribute to high cholesterol, including genetic makeup, diet and activity level. One reason high cholesterol is so common is the presence of trans and saturated fats in many processed foods, such as red meats or full-fat dairy products. Smoking and alcohol increase cholesterol levels, and it can be more difficult for adults over 40 to lower cholesterol."

2

The Dangers of Not Treating High Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol

Marchese explains, "High levels of LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol, increase the rate of plaque deposits on arteries. As plaque increases within arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis reduces blood flow, and severe complications can arise. If the arteries that feed your heart from the lungs, the coronary arteries, are affected by high cholesterol, you may experience chest pain, known as angina. If a blood clot forms due to atherosclerosis, it may cause a heart attack by blocking blood flow in the heart. Similarly, a blood clot that blocks blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke."

3

Get a Blood Test to Check Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol test

Marchese emphasizes, "High cholesterol itself does not cause symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect if you have high cholesterol. Instead of symptoms, the effects of high cholesterol manifest as other conditions, such as heart attack or stroke."

4

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

"Coronary artery disease is a type of ischemic heart disease, meaning a lack of oxygen to the coronary arteries," Marchese states. "CAD is the number one cause of death in the United States and occurs when atherosclerosis, caused by high cholesterol, builds up in the coronary arteries. As plaque accumulates, the heart loses access to oxygen-rich blood and becomes weaker. CAD eventually leads to myocardial infarction (heart attack) or heart failure. There are few signs of CAD except chest pain, which is closely associated with a risk of a heart attack."

5

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

high blood pressure

Marchese says, "As cholesterol causes plaque in arteries, blood vessels become stiffer and narrower. The heart must then work harder to pump blood through areas with atherosclerosis. When blood pressure increases, it can further weaken blood vessels as the force of blood against blood vessel walls creates weak spots." 

6

Leg Cramps or Swelling (Edema)

unrecognized young asian woman had pain at calves sitting on couch at home

According to Marchese, "Peripheral artery disease occurs when atherosclerosis builds up in the arteries of the arms or legs. You may experience more frequent cramping as blood struggles to circulate through the limb. As you get up and move around, pain may subside, but if the issue occurs or is accompanied by fluid build (known as edema), seek medical evaluation for a potential blood clot." 

7

Carotid Artery Disease

Marchese tells us, "Carotid artery disease affects the vessels along the neck that carry blood to the brain's frontal lobe. As plaque builds up in these arteries, it restricts oxygen to the brain. Carotid artery disease can cause symptoms such as dizziness and confusion and can lead to stroke."

The post Signs You Have High Cholesterol and Don't Even Know It appeared first on Eat This Not That.


Eat This Not That

Popular posts from this blog

These 5 Grocery Items Are Cheaper Than Ever Right Now

The grocery industry has been facing major disruptions. The combined effects of the pandemic, climate change, and economic uncertainty over the past couple of years have culminated in a series of supply chain breakdowns. For the consumer, this means supply shortages , shipping delays , and temporary store closures are becoming more commonplace – and all of the added production cost to suppliers is driving up food prices . The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index report for January 2022 was released on Feb. 9, and it tells the story of cost trends for every spending category over the past year. Now the numbers are in, and since January 2021, "food at home" spending has increased 7.4%. Consumers should use this number as a benchmark, Phil Lempert, the consumer behavior analyst and founder behind Supermarket Guru , told Eat This, Not That! "Anything that's substantially less [than the 7.4% increase] is a deal," said Lempert. "When you

When Should I Take Creatine?

Creatine is probably the most well-researched supplement on the market today. Numerous studies have found positive adaptations in strength, power and muscle mass thanks to creatine supplementation—especially when it's combined with resistance training. Although the benefits of creatine are well-known to lifters, the best time to take it isn't common knowledge. Which leads us to some important questions:     Does an optimal time for consuming creatine exist?     If it does, should you take it before or after your workout? According to a new study published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition, the timing of creatine ingestion does indeed play a role in getting bigger and stronger. Creatine supplementation before resistance training increases muscular strength and lean muscle mass. Interestingly, taking creatine immediately after lifting weights results in greater muscle growth than taking it immediately before. However, in terms of strength gains, no difference betw

Best Smoothie Habits for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians

When it comes to trying to lose weight , most of us are rather poor math students. We mess up the addition and subtraction all the time. We'll try to subtract calories by skipping meals only to become ravenous later on and undercalculate how much food we've eaten to satisfy that gnawing hunger . That's where smoothies can shine as effective weight-loss tools. Research has found that meal replacement shakes, such as protein and fruit/vegetable smoothies, can help people reduce overall daily calorie consumption if used regularly in place of calorie-dense meals and snacks. Getting into the smoothie habit works for weight loss if you follow the right approach. We asked dietitians for the best strategies for getting the most benefit from your smoothie habit . After you read through these tips, try out our recipes for the 25 Best-Ever Weight Loss Smoothies . 1 Make weight loss your 'why' Don't assume a new smoothie recipe is right for you simply because i