Many people today wonder what are the causes of high cholesterol, and what the high cholesterol symptoms are. These are good questions to ask, as levels above normal can lead to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and ultimately strokes and heart disease, the leading killers of Americans today. This article will attempt to explain the both the symptoms and causes of this cause of heart disease.
Unfortunately, cholesterol levels above normal does not have symptoms as we normally think of them (headaches, shortness of breath, etc). It is possible for dangerously high cholesterol to be completely silent and undetectable, and for people to only find out their levels are too high when and if they are tested for it.
Even worse, when you do develop "symptoms" (as we normally think of them), it's a big danger sign. At this point, you would be feeling symptoms of other health problems, like an oncoming heart attack or stroke, rather than high cholesterol symptoms themselves.
There are, however, some lifestyle choices that lead to bad cholesterol levels. If you meet more than half of the risk factors below, you might want to have your cholesterol levels tested during your next medical check-up.
Lifestyle causes of high cholesterol include:
Your family has a history of heart problems
You eat fatty meals (fat food, whole milk, cheese, bacon, etc.)
You are overweight (your body stores more fat and cholesterol than it burns)
You get little exercise
You drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day
The good thing about lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, weight, and smoking leading to cholesterol problems is that they are reversible. You can reduce your risk of developing high levels (or, if you already have bad cholesterol, lower your levels) by changing your lifestyle. Eating a low-fat diet, getting daily cardiovascular exercise (even just walking), losing weight, and quitting smoking can all reduce those levels.
Unfortunately, there are other causes of high cholesterol that we can do little about. These risk factors are biological or genetic. Although you can do little to change them, being aware of these risk factors is the closest you can come to recognizing high cholesterol symptoms.
The biological causes of high cholesterol include:
Illnesses: There are a few medical conditions that lead to this type of problem, such as an under active thyroid, or kidney and liver diseases. These, however, can quickly be tested and either confirmed or ruled out by your doctor.
Heredity: Some families are genetically prone to increased blood lipid levels. If there is a history of heart disease in your family history, you may be prone to it too.
If your readings are high, look for natural ways to lower it. The vast majority of cases of high cholesterol can be lowered by taking the right supplements and making changes in the diet. Medication should be used only when all else fails.
AGE: As both women and men grow older, their levels slowly rise. Around ages 60 to 65, cholesterol levels level off and stop increasing. In other words, the older you are, the greater your chance of having high cholesterol level.
GENDER: Women generally have lower cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After they reach menopause, usually around age 50, women generally have higher cholesterol levels than men of the same age.
STRESS: Medical studies have found that long-term stress can raise cholesterol levels. This may be due, however, to how people handle stress-for example, smoking or comfort eating of fatty foods may be the causes of high cholesterol, not the stress itself.
Finally, remember this: since high cholesterol symptoms are silent and unnoticeable, the best way to avoid more serious conditions like heart disease or strokes is simply to check your cholesterol levels regularly, and avoid the causes of high cholesterol that lead to developing high cholesterol symptoms in the first place.