High Cholesterol
High Cholesterol

High Cholesterol: 8 Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Complications

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:

Easily tired

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.

Other symptoms

  • Leg pain
  • The nape feels sore
  • Chest pain.
  • Xanthoma occur.
  • Xanthelasma occurs.
  • 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.

Lose weight

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.

Exercise regularly

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.

Taking drugs

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.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs

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.

PCSK9 Inhibitors

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.

Omega-3 supplements

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

Last Updated on February 17, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team