What Are The Symptoms of High Cholesterol?


What are high cholesterol symptoms

It’s rare for the mere fact of high cholesterol to produce symptoms. As noted before, even where cholesterol is above 1,000 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL: 500 mg/dL of cholesterol is considered dangerously high), individuals might only experience an attack of acute pancreatitis. These symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen sometimes spreading to the back, nausea, vomiting, fever, and rapid pulse.

High Levels of Cholesterol: Above a 300 mg/dL Threshold

When cholesterol is above 300 mg/dL for an extended period – a condition doctors refer to as hypercholesterolemia – plaque begins to build up and narrow arteries. This is when individuals with cholesterol levels over 350 mg/dL may begin to notice the telltale warning signs of coronary heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, as the presence of plaque changes the composition of the lining of the arteries in dangerous and sometimes irreversible ways. This change is called Peripheral Arterial Disease, or PAD.

Symptoms of Peripheral Arterial Disease

Early stages of high cholesterol may cause:

• Achiness
• Cramping
• Fatigue
• Pain in the legs and feet, both at rest and during activity or exercise

In later stages, as cholesterol/plaque deposits reduce blood flow, individuals with high cholesterol may experience:

• Bluish toes
• Burning sensation in toes
• Leg cramps
• Pale, thin, shiny skin on the legs and feet, ulcers that heal slowly (or not at all), and gangrene
• Reduced amount of leg hair
• Reduced temperature in one leg or foot as compared to the other
• Thick toenails

Symptoms of Coronary Artery (Heart) Disease

Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of both males and females in the United States. Symptoms may vary, especially between men and women, but all are the result of high cholesterol and arterial blockages:
• Chest pain, or angina
• Excessive fatigue
• Nausea
• Numbness or coldness in hands and feet
• Pain in the neck, jaw, upper abdomen or back
• Shortness of breath

Symptoms of Heart Attack

When the arteries that supply the heart with blood narrow because of high cholesterol and plaque buildup – a process called atherosclerosis – the result can be a heart attack. The correct name for a heart attack is “myocardial infarction”. Heart attacks because of persistent high cholesterol happen to someone in the U.S. about once every 34 seconds. The signs of a heart attack include:

• Difficulty breathing
• Dizziness
• Excessive fatigue
• Feelings of fullness, squeezing, tightness or pain in the chest or arms
• Nausea, indigestion, or heartburn

Symptoms of Stroke

As cholesterol levels rise, plaque buildup narrows arteries and blood supply to the brain is reduced. The result, untended, can lead to a stroke. The symptoms of stroke include:

• Blurred, darkened, or double vision
• Confusion
• Inability to move, typically on only one side of the body
• Loss of feeling in an arm or leg on one side of the body
• Numbness and drooping eyelid and/or mouth on one side of the face
• Slurred speech
• Sudden dizziness or loss of balance and coordination
• Sudden severe headache

In rare cases, individuals with high cholesterol may be the victims of a hereditary disorder known as familial hypercholesterolemia (or FH, also spelled familial ‘hypercholesterolaemia’). It is the result of high LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) levels. Unfortunately, victims of familial hypercholesterolemia, or hypercholesterolaemia, do not always respond well to dietary control or statins, the medicine of choice for reducing LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Familial hypercholesterolemia, or hypercholesterolaemia, is the result of a mutation in the LDLR gene that encodes the LDL receptor protein that normally removes LDL cholesterol from blood.