What are the signs of high cholesterol? There are several signs that indicate it, but sometimes this cholesterol does not give a clear sign. However, there are some things that you should be aware of when you find these signs, it is not necessarily a sign that you are high in cholesterol, but this you should be aware of, including one of the symptoms of high cholesterol is on your face.
Early Signs of High Cholesterol
What are the signs that indicate that your cholesterol is high? There are no obvious signs unless you do a blood test. Even if you are experiencing the negative effects of cholesterol itself, you still can’t be sure it’s cholesterol. So, the only way to decide that you are high in cholesterol is to have a blood check up.
Most people say that the silent killer is high blood pressure, this is true. However, high cholesterol can also be one of the killers that comes suddenly. So, don’t ignore it every time you find symptoms that point to cholesterol problems. Even though it is not certain, it is immediately alerted so that preventive steps can be taken quickly.
Why cholesterol can also be a silent killer like hypertension? Simple, this is because high cholesterol also has no obvious symptoms, usually it does not cause discomfort and does not cause physical symptoms.
So, most people with high cholesterol to experience major problems and dangers such as heart attack or stroke. Initially, all came from high cholesterol without control.
However, there are certain health factors that can indicate that you are in danger and at high risk of cholesterol. Well, this is what must be learned and understood to be able to keep high cholesterol from being prevented.
When you and your doctor know about your health problems, the doctor can make maps and roads that can lead to good cholesterol management. This can be managed by regular checkups, dietary changes, and certain medications. Ok, keep reading this article to the end to find out the indications of high cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol?
Before we go into a deeper explanation, let’s first know what cholesterol is? Cholesterol is a lipid or known as blood fat, where it has a major role in our body. Like that said by cardiologist Alon Ronen, MD, a cardiologist at Northeast Medical Group and the Heart and Vascular Center at Bridgeport Hospital in Trumbull, Connecticut. (1)
It can be said that cholesterol is the building block for hormones, cells and other substances that we need for the continuity of all our bodily functions.
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Certain proteins carry cholesterol through the bloodstream, each of which has a different purpose. Dr. Ronen said that this combination of protein-cholesterol is called a lipoprotein. There are indeed many kinds, but in general there are types of cholesterol, including:
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL cholesterol): This is the good type of cholesterol that washes away excess cholesterol and sends it to the liver for cleaning.
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol): This is a type of bad cholesterol or is harmful if taken in excess. Where in excessive levels it stores the remaining cholesterol into the walls of our arteries, causing various problems such as clogged arteries.
Why Is High Cholesterol Dangerous?
We do need cholesterol, but our need for cholesterol to regulate various daily needs in our bodies is very low. That’s according to Eugene Yang, MD, chair of the American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section leadership council. He is also an expert and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
Indeed, our bodies can get rid of excess cholesterol with high-density lipoprotein (HDL), but this cannot be offset by the amount of LDL that continues to increase due to consuming certain cholesterol-rich foods.
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On the other hand, the excess cholesterol that HDL cannot get rid of, will be stored in the artery walls (the lining of the arteries). This is like the one in the neck, heart, stomach and even on our feet. If this artery is blocked, it will lead to several dangerous and serious health conditions.
Dr. Yang said that this condition can constrict blood vessels and the risk is stroke or heart attack.
There was a long-term study involving about 400,000 participants, and it was associated with LDL levels and heart attacks. This study was published in The Lancet, where it was stated that the results of the study confirmed that there was a strong relationship between heart attack and LDL levels in people in all age groups. In addition, researchers also found the opposite results, where someone who experienced a decrease in LDL also experienced a well-known risk of heart attack.
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What Causes High Cholesterol?
Dr. Ronen mentions that our liver produces all the cholesterol we need, but our daily diet is very decisive and quite influential on this balance. So it’s only natural that when a person no longer controls his daily diet, he can experience a spike in cholesterol that is bad for his health.
The food we eat if it is rich in saturated fat or trans fat, then our liver will produce excessive cholesterol to a level that is not good for the body. This can also happen if our daily diet is high in animal products such as meat, dairy, which in turn causes our body to have excess cholesterol (LDL) and this is dangerous.
In addition to our diet, family history also determines this. Several genetic conditions predispose a person to have high cholesterol levels, and if it is very high, it can cause blockages in the arteries even this is dangerous at an early age though. So, do not assume that a young age can be safe from cholesterol, if you do not maintain a diet and coupled with a family history of high cholesterol, then you are already in a dangerous place.
Keeping cholesterol stable and healthy is within our control. There are many ways you can lower bad cholesterol from your body. You can do this by exercising, changing your diet, and undergoing certain treatments.
What are the Signs of High Cholesterol?
Dr. Which mentions there are no physical findings that say that you are experiencing high cholesterol. The only way to know your cholesterol levels is to do a blood test.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) states that nearly 30% of adults in America have high cholesterol, many of whom do not even know that they are living with a life-threatening health condition.
But you need to know that further information from the CDC, states that only half of all people with high cholesterol benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. Meanwhile, the British health service said that about 70% of people with high cholesterol did not know the bad conditions they were experiencing.
Most of the stroke patients, high blood pressure is the result of high cholesterol they suffer from and they do not treat it, this could be because they do not know the condition or because they think it is not dangerous and ignore it.
So, even if there are no physical signs that indicate high cholesterol, there are several conditions that can be a reference and signal that a person is in danger and at high risk of cholesterol. Here are some signs someone is experiencing high cholesterol. At least, this can be a guideline for you to be careful and aware of your health condition.
1. Skin conditions
Although there are no physical signs that show you are in high cholesterol, sometimes there are certain skin conditions such as rashes that can be a sign that you have high cholesterol.
Certain rashes are sometimes a sign of high cholesterol levels, as Dr. Lloyd-Jones says. He says that if too much cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can build up on the layers of the skin and form like a rash, and it can even appear on the face.
Among the signs of high cholesterol include:
- Xanthelasmas, there are yellow dots around your eyes
- Arcus senilis, a gray ring-like appearance appears around your eyes.
- Xanthomas, the presence of cholesterol deposits in the tendons.
The form of skin rash that is a sign of high cholesterol is more common in those who have had high cholesterol for a lifetime or for a long time and continue to be in a state of high cholesterol.
You also need to be aware if you have a family history of high cholesterol conditions and get a skin rash like the one above, immediately check with a doctor.
2. Chronic health conditions
There are certain health conditions that can be a fast cause of high cholesterol. So, if you have one of these types of chronic diseases, you should continue to check your cholesterol levels.
Dr. Lloyd-Jones mentions that cholesterol levels can be unexpectedly high in those with kidney disease conditions. Why did it happen? As a result of kidney disease conditions, a person will lose protein in their urine, the body will replace this protein with extra LDL.
Apart from kidney disease, thyroid disorders and diabetes also affect a person’s cholesterol levels. This will lead to a cholesterol level that is higher than its normal size.
In addition to the three diseases, Dr. Which adds to several other health conditions that can be a sign of high cholesterol, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. This can increase a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack. If you experience problems like this, then your cholesterol levels should continue to be checked so that you can get good treatment.
Patients with HIV disease are also at high risk for elevated cholesterol and they are at risk for stroke and heart attack. In addition, drugs used to treat HIV are also often the cause of increased cholesterol.
3. Family history
Dr. Which states that about 1:250 people have genetic mutations in their bodies. This can cause cholesterol levels in the body to be higher than average.
This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia, this can put a person in danger and even 100 times more at risk of death from cardiovascular causes, due to clogged arteries and high cholesterol levels.
If you have a condition like this, then something is mandatory for you to monitor your cholesterol levels. Always do an examination to stay normal and far from the bad effects of high cholesterol.
4. Problems with breathing
Furthermore, a sign of high cholesterol is someone who has problems with his breathing. If you have ever experienced chest pain, shortness of breath, then this could be due to clogged arteries due to high cholesterol (LDL) levels, said Dr. Which.
If you experience signs of high cholesterol like this, it means that your body is already developing to heart disease and stroke. So, it is important for you to get a close examination, so that you can reduce the risk of high cholesterol.
Other Risk Factors
Not only the four conditions above that cause a person to experience high cholesterol, but there are several other medical conditions.
Among them are pregnant women who experience disorders during pregnancy such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure). Then, people of South Asian descent, they are the group with the highest risk of heart disease. Furthermore, those at risk are people with prediabetes.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol tests are carried out to measure several different elements, some measure the total amount of cholesterol, some only measure HDL cholesterol, or only LDL or measure triglyceride levels, this is a type of fat that is used for energy needs.
The average value is considered a healthy number, but sometimes the average number can be high for cholesterol risk owners. In general, adult cholesterol levels should be at:
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dl
- LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dl
- HDL cholesterol: 50 mg/dl or higher for women; 40 mg/dl or higher for men
- Meanwhile, Triglycerides level: less than 150 mg/dl
But we must know that the purpose of the level depends on our health as well. For example, for those who are at high risk of cholesterol such as diabetics, their cholesterol (LDL) levels should be below 70 mg/dl.
This number is a firm recommendation in the American guidelines, unlike the European guidelines, perhaps even more so. In 2019, the European Society of Cardiology determined that LDL cholesterol levels for patients at high risk of cholesterol should be less than 55 mg/dl.
Some health experts believe that lowering LDL cholesterol levels as much as possible has health benefits. In addition, cholesterol levels are also influenced by gender and age. For example, men have less HDL than women. Likewise with children, their target is to have an LDL cholesterol level of 170 mg/dl and an HDL goal of 45 mg/dl.
So it is important to check with a competent doctor, so they can regulate how much cholesterol you should have. Of course they look at your age, gender, and other health.