High cholesterol is a condition where cholesterol levels in the blood exceed normal levels so it can be bad for health. Cholesterol is one type of fat that resembles wax. Most of the cholesterol is produced in the liver organs, and some of it is obtained from food. Cholesterol is necessary to produce healthy cells, a number of hormones, and vitamin D.
In the blood, cholesterol is carried by a protein called lipoprotein. There are two types of lipoproteins, namely LDL commonly referred to as bad cholesterol, and HDL, which is commonly referred to as good cholesterol.
LDL is responsible for transporting cholesterol from liver organs to body cells in need. While HDL serves to transport cholesterol back to the liver organs. In the liver, cholesterol will be destroyed, to then be excreted from the body through feces.
High Cholesterol Symptoms
No symptoms of high cholesterol or dyslipidemia are very typical. Even in general, dyslipidemia is asymptomatic and is usually only discovered when you do a routine medical check-up.
In many cases, high cholesterol often does not show specific symptoms until complications arise, such as heart disease or stroke.
Although it does not have typical symptoms, but some of these conditions are worth watching out for as a sign of high cholesterol:
Symptoms of high cholesterol are not specific. But, usually some conditions such as fatigue can be a sign of high cholesterol.
It occurs as a result of the appearance of plaque in the blood vessels due to high cholesterol levels that cause reduced blood flow to the body tissues.
Likes to be sleepy
Frequent drowsiness can be one of the indirect impacts of high cholesterol and the presence of blockages in blood vessels.
Drowsiness is associated with blood flow intake which brings less oxygen to the brain. With this, complaints of frequent drowsiness and fatigue can occur.
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Xanthelasma is a condition of the appearance of yellow bumps at the ends of the eyes or upper eyelid. This happens due to cholesterol deposits under the skin.
Vision will not be affected by this condition.
High cholesterol affects about half of those who develop xanthelasma.
Arcus senilis is another sign condition of high cholesterol, which occurs when cholesterol enters the cornea and causes the appearance of a ringlike white or blue circle (iris) on the edge of the cornea.
Although this iris appear, vision will not be disturbed by it.
Arcus senilis was originally visible only at the top and bottom of the cornea. However, it has the potential to surround the entire cornea.
Hollenhorst plaques are fragments of cholesterol that were originally clots from larger arteries, such as the carotid artery, and may be indicative of a serious problem.
Sufferers will likely not be aware of these plaques until they cause blockages because they usually do not show any symptoms.
6. Skin Discoloration
A sign that you have high cholesterol is a change in skin color.
This change in skin color is also accompanied by a skin condition that is getting dryer.
This condition occurs due to high cholesterol levels that can reduce flow in the layers of your skin.
As a result, skin cells cannot receive enough nutrients so that it will have an impact on changing skin color.
7. Excessive Sweating
Usually this one symptom is not considered serious for people with high cholesterol.
In fact, not infrequently they will ignore this symptom.
Even though excessive sweating is a sign if the cholesterol levels in the body are very high, you know.
Especially if this condition is aggravated by the appearance of fever or flu.
8. Yellowing Nails
Too much plaque stored in the arteries makes the appearance of large deposits that make the arteries become blocked.
This is what will then make the blood flow to many parts of the body hampered.
No exception is the part of the nail that can make it turn yellowish with a dark stripe underneath.
9. Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease or PAD is a serious complication caused by high cholesterol.
The disease can develop when the arteries in your legs are too healed due to the buildup of bad cholesterol.
The common symptoms of PAD include numbness, tingling, and discomfort in the legs.
5 Other symptoms
- Leg pain
- The nape feels sore
- Chest pain.
- Xanthoma occur.
- Appears clots in the veins.
High Cholesterol Diagnosis
The diagnosis of high cholesterol or dyslipidemia can be done through medical interviews and physical examinations. Physical examinations that can be done are:
- Examination of vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, breathing, and body temperature)
- Anthropometric examination (abdominal circumference and BMI / Body Mass Index).
In addition, supporting examinations can also be carried out in the form of laboratory examinations. This examination plays an important role in the determination of diagnosis. To obtain accurate results, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything (other than water) for 9– 12 hours before the blood collection process.
In this laboratory examination, the doctor will check the:
- Total cholesterol levels
- LDL Cholesterol
- HDL Cholesterol
- Plasma triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood).
Total cholesterol levels in the blood are measured by units called milligrams per deciliter, or commonly abbreviated as mg/dL.
For older persons with healthy body conditions, the recommended total cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL or less. While normal levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) are less than 100 mg/dL, and the ideal level of good cholesterol is more than 60 mg/dL. Not only cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels will also be examined. Recommended triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL.
High Cholesterol Treatment
How to treat high cholesterol can be done by the following steps:
Implement a healthy diet
The doctor will advise the patient to go on a healthy diet in the form of:
- Reduce saturated and trans fat intake, such as pastries, junk food, processed meats, and more
- Increase consumption of healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean yogurt
- Avoiding alco**hol consumption
- Increase the intake of stanol or sterol ester by 2-3 grams per day to lower LDL levels by 6-15 percent
- Eating soya protein.
Losing weight is very important so that LDL levels are also reduced. Because, obesity will increase the risk of hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and others.
Increased physical activity can increase HDL while lowering LDL and triglyceride levels.
Quit smo**king and don’t consume alco**hol
By quitting smo**king and avoiding alco**hol consumption, good cholesterol levels can also increase, so that the body is healthier.
If lifestyle changes are ineffective at lowering cholesterol levels, doctors can give medications to patients. The type of medication prescribed will be determined based on the age and health condition of the patient, the risk of complications, as well as possible side effects. In general, here are a series of medications that may be given by the doctor:
The statins are responsible for inhibiting enzymes in the liver, which are necessary in producing cholesterol. The drug will also trigger the liver to expel cholesterol from the blood.
These drugs can be cholestyramine, colesevelam, and colestipol. They work by binding to bile acids, thus encouraging the liver to take advantage of excess cholesterol in the blood.
Ezetimibe plays a role in inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol from food and bile fluids.
Alirocumab and evolocumab
Alirocumab and evolocumab help the liver to eliminate cholesterol from the blood. Generally, both drugs will be injected once every two weeks, as well as recommended if the patient cannot use statins and ezetimibe.
A newer high cholesterol drug is a PCSK9 inhibitor. The drug helps the liver to absorb more bad cholesterol. That way, cholesterol in the blood will also decrease.
If the patient’s blood test indicates the presence of high triglycerides, the doctor may also give some of the following types of drugs:
Fibrates serves to reduce the production of very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol in the liver and accelerate the disposal of triglycerides. For example, fenofibrate and gemfibrozil.
Niacin is a drug to limit the liver’s ability to produce more bad cholesterol and VLDL. But the drug is associated with liver damage as well as stroke, so it is only recommended for patients who do not use statins.
To lower triglycerides, omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also be consumed.
Learn more about Best Supplements To Lower Cholesterol
High Cholesterol Complications
High cholesterol can cause the accumulation of harmful cholesterol and other deposits in the walls of your arteries (atherosclerosis). The buildup (plaque) can block blood flow through your arteries and cause complications, such as chest pain, heart attack, and stroke.
Learn more about The Dangers of High Cholesterol