Error
High Cholesterol High Cholesterol
  • What is high cholesterol?
  • What are the causes of high cholesterol?
  • What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
  • How is high cholesterol treated?
  • What are the complications and related diseases?
High Cholesterol

What is high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found in the blood. While cholesterol is used by the body to build healthy cells, excessive amounts of cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

High cholesterol levels may lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Over time, these deposits can cause narrowing in the arteries, which obstructs blood flow. Sometimes, those deposits can break off and create a clot, also known as an embolism, which will cause a stroke or heart attack.

While high cholesterol can be congenital, it is often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. An active lifestyle, with a healthy diet and eating habits, and sometimes medication can help keep cholesterol levels in check.

High Cholesterol

What are the causes of high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is transported through the blood in mainly 2 forms: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is known as a “good” cholesterol that picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to the liver. LDL is known as a “bad” cholesterol that transports cholesterol particles throughout our body. LDL is the cholesterol that builds up in the walls of our arteries, causing them to narrow and harden.

A type of fat in the blood, called triglycerides, is also measured in a lipid profile. Having a high triglyceride level increases the risk of heart disease.

Activity (or the lack of it), obesity and an unhealthy diet are controllable factors that contribute to high cholesterol and low LDL. Some factors, such as genes, may prevent the body’s cells from removing LDL from the blood efficiently, or cause the liver to produce excess cholesterol.

High Cholesterol

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

People with high cholesterol may not experience any signs or symptoms. The condition is usually detected with a blood test.

High Cholesterol

How is high cholesterol treated?

Lifestyle changes such as exercise and observing a healthy diet is the first line of treatment to reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. Should that be insufficient, our medical team may prescribe the following medication to lower cholesterol levels:

  • Bile-acid-binding resins
  • Statins
  • Injectable medications, also known as PCSK9 inhibitors.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors for high triglyceride levels
High Cholesterol

What are the complications and related diseases?

High cholesterol levels may lead to plaque deposits on the artery walls in the heart. These deposits may restrict the flow of blood, and can cause:

  • Chest pain or angina
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke