A simple blood test at a routine medical visit can tell whether you have high cholesterol or not.
You may be diagnosed with borderline-high or high cholesterol if your blood test results show:
- Total cholesterol higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
- LDL (“bad”) cholesterol higher than 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides levels over 150 mg/dL
- HDL (“good”) cholesterol less than 60 mg/dL
But what do these numbers really mean for your health?
While having high cholesterol isn’t something you’ll notice day-to-day, it does mean you’re at risk for, or may already have, heart disease – one of the leading cause of death for both women and men in the across the world.
Want to know more? Here are answers to 6 frequently asked questions about high cholesterol:
1. What Does High Cholesterol Do to the Body?
Having high cholesterol can lead to the stiffening and narrowing of the arteries, as well as reduced or blocked blood flow through them because of a buildup of plaque — a combination of cholesterol, fats, your cells’ waste products, calcium, and fibrin (which causes blood clotting). That’s why cholesterol matters: Lack of sufficient blood flow to your brain or heart can lead to a stroke or heart attack respectively.
2. Whom Does High Cholesterol Affect?
High cholesterol can affect anyone at any age. But it can also be a problem for children when high cholesterol runs in the family. There have been increasingly high cases of genetic cholesterol problems with people. In short, if anyone who is having a high-fat diet and doesn’t do anything to burn the extra calories, he/she can have heart diseases due to cholesterol.
3. Can High Cholesterol Be Genetic?
Yes. High cholesterol is genetic for about 1 in 200 people in the United States who live with a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH).
If your LDL cholesterol level is above 100, it’s considered high. But if it’s higher than 190, you may have inherited FH. If a parent has familial hypercholesterolemia, you have a 50 percent likelihood of having it, too. Finding out if you have it, and getting treated if you do are vital, because having FH means you have a 20-times higher risk of heart attack or stroke than people who don’t have inherited high cholesterol.
4. Can High Cholesterol Make You Tired?
No, high cholesterol doesn’t usually cause fatigue. But it can lead to heart diseases, like coronary microvascular disease, that do. In this heart condition, excess LDL cholesterol builds up as plaque in the small arteries of your heart, narrowing and stiffening them. This reduces blood flow, which can make you feel tired or short of breath, as well as cause chest pain.
If you’re taking a statin medication to treat your high cholesterol, possible side effects include symptoms that come with fatigue, like memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion.
5. Can High Cholesterol Cause a Stroke?
Yes, if you have high cholesterol, you’re at risk for stroke due to the excess cholesterol circulating in your blood, according to the AHA.
LDL cholesterol builds up in your arteries, where it slows or blocks the flow of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your body, including your brain. As arteries narrow and stiffen, blood clots may form and cause a stroke from a blockage in the brain.
6. Will High Cholesterol Cause Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
High cholesterol alone is not thought to cause erectile dysfunction, but plaque-clogged arteries can, because blood flow is essential to an erection. High cholesterol is atherogenic [causes atherosclerosis] and can cause erectile dysfunction on that basis. When patients are treated for Erectile Dysfunction, the consideration needs to be taken of not only cholesterol disorders, but also that other parts of the body might be afflicted with atherosclerotic plaque. The heart, lower extremities, and brain are the areas we typically examine to look for such disease.
So, it is important then that cholesterol is kept under control so that problems related to heart and brain can be kept at bay. You can read here for changes in diet that can help you lower cholesterol: 5 super-foods for a healthy heart and lower you cholesterol naturally.
Get yourself tested for a full body checkup and see your health status using MedLabz’ new ‘Visual Interactive Reports‘. You can now book an accurate Full Body Checkup at the comfort of your home from MedLabz.com or call on +91 7879-800-800 to get more information on the checkup at your location.