The Symptoms And Causes Of High Cholesterol

By Alley Benton
Updated November 9, 2016
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The Symptoms And Causes Of High CholesterolAs frustrating as it may be to learn that high cholesterol has no actual symptoms, the truth is that the only way you can get an accurate reading of your current cholesterol levels is to visit a doctor and get a blood test or lipid screening.

It's recommended that most people over the age of 20 should get a cholesterol test once every five years, but some people should undergo the test more frequently because of the presence of certain risk factors that might make them more prone to heart disease. If you are unsure about your risk levels, you might be best served by speaking to your doctor about when you should have a cholesterol test. Recommendations for the first age of screenings can vary, and retesting is usually performed on a regular basis.

The Problems with High Cholesterol:

If you find that your levels of cholesterol aren't within the normal range to permit good health, then your doctor is likely to advise one or more measures to help you combat this issue. For instance, your doctor might suggest making changes to your diet or lifestyle, or asking you to engage in regular physical activity. Some of the most common risk factors that can have an impact on your cholesterol levels might include:

- Bad dietary choices - eating large amounts of saturated and trans fats could raise your cholesterol level significantly. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as full-fat dairy products and red meat can also raise your cholesterol.

- Obesity - Having a significantly higher than usual BMI could place you at a greater risk of suffering from high cholesterol. This is also true for people who have large waist circumferences of 40 inches or more. The number goes down to thirty-five inches or more for women.

- Lack of exercise - Exercise is essential for boosting your body's natural levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. Not exercising could mean that you end up with a bad ratio of HDL to LDL in your blood work.

- Smoking - Cigarette smoke damages the walls in your blood vessels- making them more likely to accumulate fatty deposits. What's more, smoking might lower your level of "good" or HDL cholesterol.

- Diabetes - High blood sugar can contribute to higher LDL and lower HDL levels.

Causes of High Cholesterol:

Cholesterol naturally moves through the blood attached to proteins. This combination of cholesterol and protein is known as a lipoprotein. Chances are that you have heard of different kinds of cholesterol, and these are defined by the type of cholesterol that is carried by the lipoprotein. The bad form of cholesterol is LDL lipoprotein, and this is the one that you should worry about if your numbers are very high. This form of cholesterol transports cholesterol around your body and can build up in the walls of your arteries, making them narrow and hard.

Factors that are within your control, such as inactivity, unhealthy diets, and obesity might lead to changes in your cholesterol levels. What's more, some doctors agree that factors beyond your control could play a part too. For instance, your genetic makeup may prevent cells from removing LDL cholesterol from your blood efficiently, or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.

* Disclaimer:
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.