This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol
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“Cholesterol is a fatty substance that exists in the blood,” said Dr Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics. “Overeating fatty foods, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol can all contribute to high levels of cholesterol.” Once your levels reach dangerous heights, it’s important to identify the culprit promptly and get it under control.
As high cholesterol can be “incredibly dangerous,” it’s important to spot this condition promptly.
Although high levels can lead to life-threatening emergencies such as strokes, this condition is often silent.
Dr Liakas said: “Since cholesterol is simply a biomarker used to measure heart disease risk, there are no direct symptoms related to it.
“Cholesterol, or more specifically ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol is part of the mechanistic process by which heart disease can occur.”
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While the culprit doesn’t necessarily cause symptoms by itself, high cholesterol is linked to conditions that may draw attention to themselves.
Dr Liakas said: “In a more indirect way, we can say that certain symptoms such as high blood pressure could be related to high levels of cholesterol, given its role in arterial obstruction.
“But unless someone measures their blood pressure, it’s not really that obvious that it’s high in the first place.”
However, the expert still shared some symptoms that might crop up, including dizziness.
Dr Liakas explained that feeling dizzy could be one indication pointing to high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
He also added other signs that could be hinting at high cholesterol levels.
Dr Liakas said: “However, there are certain scenarios where someone does experience symptoms which may also be a clue as to them having high cholesterol.
“If someone has fatigue, irritability, memory problems, mood issues, general lethargy related to diabetes and issues related to blood sugar then it’s likely they may have high cholesterol as well, since diabetes is a metabolic disease, and comes with a basket of other metabolic imbalances.”
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Even though these signs could be pointing to the fatty substance, high cholesterol can be difficult to spot as the doctor explained.
The NHS also notes that it doesn’t show many warning signs which means that the best way of identifying your levels is through a blood test.
Your doctor can either take blood from your arm or do a finger-prick test.
Fortunately, once you get the condition confirmed, there’s plenty you can do to lower your levels.
How to lower high cholesterol
Dr Liakas said: “Treatment for high cholesterol includes reducing the amount of saturated fat that you consume, typically saturated fat is found in red meat and full-fat dairy products.
“Increasing the amount of exercise, you do will also help reduce your cholesterol levels.
“In some cases, medication is required to help treat high cholesterol.”
The medication the doctor is referring to is known as statins and can be prescribed by your doctor.
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