High cholesterol is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease. That can include coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. High cholesterol has also been linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. Your body needs some cholesterol but not too much. A surplus can cause plaque to build up in your arteries and make it hard for blood to get to your heart. That can cause chest pain, called angina. If the blood supply is completely blocked, you will have a heart attack.
There are different kinds of cholesterol. You want to lower the “bad” kind, LDL, and triglycerides, which you body stores in fat cells. On the other hand, you want to raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol. It helps get rid of the bad kinds.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, however, if you have high cholesterol and other risk factors, there can be serious health complications.
Cholesterol and Heart Disease
The main risk from high cholesterol is coronary heart disease. If your cholesterol is too high, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. Over time, this build-up, called plaque, causes hardening of the arteries. This causes arteries to become narrowed, which slows the blood flow to the heart muscle. Reduced blood flow can result in angina (chest pain) or in a heart attack if a vessel gets blocked completely.
Cholesterol and Stroke
Atherosclerosis causes arteries that lead to the brain to become narrowed and even blocked. If a vessel carrying blood to the brain is blocked completely, you could have a stroke.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
High cholesterol has also been linked to peripheral vascular disease. This refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. In this condition, fatty deposits build up along artery walls and affect blood circulation. This occurs mainly in arteries that lease to the legs and feet.
Link to Diabetes
Diabetes can upset the balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. People with diabetes tend to have LDL particles that stick to arteries and dames blood vessels more easily. Glucose (a type of sugar) attaches to lipoproteins (a cholesterol-protein package that enables cholesterol to travel through blood). Sugarcoated LDL remains in the bloodstream longer and may lead to the formation of plaque. people with diabetes tend to have low HDL and high triglyceride (another kind of blood fat) levels. Both of these boost the risk of heart and artery disease.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also linked. When the arteries become hardened and narrowed with cholesterol plaque and calcium, the heart has to strain much harder to pump blood through them. As a result, blood pressure becomes abnormally high. High blood pressure is also linked to heart disease.
Arrange to have your blood checked through Internal Medicine of Stafford for high cholesterol as part of your wellness plan. We offer discounted blood tests for our self-pay patients.
If you have high cholesterol, it’s important to lower it. We will work with you to help you get it under control. Schedule an appointment today to have your cholesterol checked.