What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver. It is necessary for the building of cell membranes, the absorption of vitamin D and is involved in the production of some hormones. If your liver produces more than your body needs, it can cause problems with the heart and circulatory system. When the levels of cholesterol in your blood are higher than they should be, this is known as high cholesterol.
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
There are no symptoms to alert you to the fact that you have high cholesterol. Everyone should see a doctor and be screened for it, starting in their 20s.
Too much cholesterol in your blood stream can lead to a buildup of it in your arteries. Called plaque, this buildup can eventually cause the blood flow to slow down or stop completely. When this happens, they organs supplied by that blood vessel can be damaged by a lack of oxygen.
Depending on where the blockage is, this lack of blood flow can lead to a heart attack, stroke or failure of any other organ.
What are the causes of high blood cholesterol?
High cholesterol can be caused by a number of things. Some people are genetically predisposed to having high cholesterol levels. In other cases, lifestyle choices like a diet high in fatty foods and low in fiber, a lack of exercise and smoking can bring on this condition.
Can any complications arise if left untreated?
If left untreated, high cholesterol can have a devastating effect on your body. Cholesterol can build up in your veins, this is called plaque. If enough plaque builds up the blood flow can be limited. This can lead to damage to any organ the clogged blood vessel supplies, including the heart, lungs, GI tract, and brain.
What medications treat high cholesterol?
If high levels of cholesterol are detected early on, before any damage is done to your heart or other organs, a combination of lifestyle changes and medication may be able to bring the levels into line before any permanent damage is done.
Common medications may include