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High cholesterol symptoms

High levels of bad cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease.  High blood cholesterol on its own does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high.  So what are some of the warning signs of high blood cholesterol?  First, let's understand high cholesterol and how it can cause heart diease.

High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood can cause the fatty cholesterol to stick to the walls of your arteries.  Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body and are critical to healthy circulation.  Cholesterol build-up (plaque) can cause narrowing or hardening of the arteries and can cause conditions such as atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease or heart attack.  Over time, the build up of cholesterol plaque on the walls of the arteries can lead to serious heart problems.

So how do you know if you're experiencing high cholesterol, or not? 

Unfortunately, most people do not have any signs of high blood cholesterol.  Sometimes, however, cholesterol can build up in the blood vessels of your heart and cause chest pains.  But more frequently, the only way to know about high cholesterol is via diagnostic tests. 

Additionally,  risk factors can contribute to high cholesterol.  A variety of things can affect the cholesterol levels in your blood, some of which you cannot control.  These include:

  • Age - Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older
  • Genetics - High blood cholesterol can run in families. A genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia can cause high LDL cholesterol levels, for example.
  • Gender -  Younger women have lower LDL cholesterol levels than men, but after age 55, women have higher levels than men.

High cholesterol poses serious risks to your health.  Educating yourself about cholesterol is key to prevent heart disease.  To learn more about how doctors diagnose cholesterol, cholesterol levels and the difference between cholesterol tests, read more now.

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