High Cholesterol – Symptoms, Signs, Causes & Treatments

Overview of High Cholesterol

No one can actually tell if they have high cholesterol or not. Only after a proper check-up, one becomes aware that he/she has high Cholesterol. There are different types of cholesterol and all such cholesterol levels in the body can be measured through a blood test. According to the Times of India, around 80% of Indians are affected by high cholesterol yearly. Raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes, do you know the difference between a heart attack and stoke? A heart attack occurs when the blood flow gets block, mainly due to blood clot while a stroke happens when there is a halt in the blood flow and oxygen to the brain cells. A stroke can also be regarded as a brain attack. Learn and read to know more high cholesterol and its various effects and symptoms.

What is High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol occurs when there is a presence of too much fatty, waxy substance called cholesterol in the blood. It is true that our body requires a definite amount of cholesterol in the system to function efficiently but an excess presence of cholesterol proves to be harmful, at time risk for the body.

A blood test can detect the levels of cholesterol. A person affected by high cholesterol needs to be under a healthy diet and regular check-up; as there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol.

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is said to have no specific symptom but there are a few common symptoms that might indicate the risk of high cholesterol. The most basic and trusted method to detect it is to undergo a blood test. Few high cholesterol symptoms are:-

Paleness of skin

If a person is getting signs of skin paleness, there is a high risk of developing high cholesterol. Many times this paleness is wrongly thought to be the signs of jaundice. If you’re experiencing such a sign of skin paleness, immediately consult your doctor and take the required care for it.

Frequent leg and hand pain

Experiencing frequent pain in the legs and hands might also lead to high cholesterol. It is advisory to visit your doctor and get a proper health check-up.

Head and neck pain ( backside)

Another high cholesterol symptom can be that the person is suffering from pain at the backside of the head and neck. To prevent further damage, get your blood test and avoid further damage due to high cholesterol.

Increase in weight

One of the most common signs of high cholesterol is weight gain. People with weight issues are prone to several diseases and high cholesterol is one such disease. Try to maintain your body weight and opt for regular exercises and a healthy diet.

Increase in heartbeat

Irregular drop and rise of heartbeat is a symptom of forming high cholesterol. In such a condition, the person is prone to get a heart attack or stroke.

Causes of High Cholesterol

Numerous factors contribute to building up a high cholesterol ratio in the body. In rare cases, some people are affected by Familia hypercholesterolemia. It is a genetic disorder that does not allow the body to remove LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. While other factors like weight gain, obesity, and eating too much of food that are rich in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fat. Family history also plays an important role, for example, if parents have high cholesterol; the children are also more prone to develop high cholesterol in future.

Factors that can lead to high cholesterol:

· Smoking

Smoking lowers the level of HDL (also known as good cholesterol)

· Inactivity

Not following an active lifestyle can lead to an increase in cholesterol. Thus, making a person more prone to get a heart attack or stroke in the near future.

· Diabetic patient

High blood glucose level tends to cause damage to the blood vessels, and also increases high blood pressure and high cholesterol known as VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). Diabetes also lowers HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

· Kidney or liver disease

Liver disease causes damage to the liver, thus affecting its function. The same goes for kidney disease or kidney stone formation can cause to rise the blood lipids (cholesterol).

· Menopause

With the arrival of menopause, women experiences increase in the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level.

· Age

Risk of high cholesterol increases with age; men of the age 45 and above, women of 55 years and above carries a high risk of a heart attack or stroke due to high cholesterol.

What are the different types of cholesterol?

Cholesterol, a waxy substance that our body uses to protect our nerves and produce certain hormones, but it becomes a dangerous component when present at an excess amount in the body. Cholesterol is partly lipid and partly protein. The different types of cholesterol are-

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), also known as good protein prevents from cholesterol building up in the arteries
  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is regarded as bad cholesterol. LDL causes damage by blocking the arteries by an increase in fat deposits.
  • Triglyceride is a lipid that increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Women with high triglyceride develop more risk of getting a heart attack than men with a high triglyceride level.

What are the healthy cholesterol levels?

  1. Cholesterol level is regarded as healthy when it is less than 200mg/dL
  2. The triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dL
  3. HDL cholesterol level must be 40 mg/dL or higher
  4. LDL cholesterol level should be less than 100mg/dL

How to prevent High cholesterol?

  1. Increase the intake of soluble fibre such as vegetables and fruits. Also include grains in your diet, as it is rich in fibre
  2. Limit eating sweet beverages and processed meat
  3. Opt for food that is low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Use less of butter, cheese, cream in your food
  4. Avoid smoking
  5. Exercise regularly.
  6. Consume a low salt diet.
  7. Don’t skip meals and eat 3 times a day in modest proportion.
  8. Moderate alcohol intake, as triglyceride level, rises if one consumes excess alcohol.
  9. Plug-in to a healthy lifestyle and keep stress at bay.

Specific foods that can help you lower cholesterol levels-

  • Vegetable oil (sunflower oil)
  • Brinjal and ladies finger
  • Oats
  • Wholesome food
  • Fish (mainly tuna, salmon)
  • Nuts
  • Soy (Soya bean) based food

Including and practising all such things daily, can help to maintain and keep your cholesterol levels at a decent ratio. So try to remain active physically and include more greens in your diet; by doing so you will prevent the chances of getting a heart attack or stroke. Also, try and get in touch with your dietician and doctor to know ways to improve your food choices.

Food ingredients to be avoided by a person with high cholesterol-

  1. Full-fat dairy
  2. Red meat
  3. Baked food
  4. Egg, mainly yolks
  5. Fast food like French fries, fried chicken etc.
  6. Avoid food of high salt and butter content

    All these factors are can be used as a first step to treat high cholesterol. As it can be read above, all the factors include the basic steps that can be easily followed at home. If the condition is severe, rush to the doctor immediately. In the next section, medical surgeries and treatments are mentioned to beat-off high cholesterol, keep reading.

Treatment of High cholesterol

Depending on the risk factor, treatments are initiated by doctors. If a person is in the initial stage, he/she is advised to follow a healthy diet. Changing food habits and lifestyle makes a huge difference. Children are mostly recommended to exercise, actively participate in sports, and only when nothing works out doctors suggest taking up statin. When a condition is critical, the doctor might suggest opting for gastric bypass surgery.

Gastric bypass surgery helps to lose weight by changing the structure of the stomach through a surgical procedure. This surgery is eligible for people under the age group of 16 to 70 years. This surgery is performed to reduce the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure etc.It has been found out to be effective by doctors and researchers.

Another type of weight loss surgery is bariatric surgery. This surgery is performed on people suffering from obesity. Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach by removing a part of the stomach or by using a gastric band which re-routes the small intestine to a small stomach pouch.

Different types of medical drugs are also used to cure high cholesterol,

Some of the drugs to cure high cholesterol are-


Lowers the triglyceride level and increases the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level. This drug is mainly prescribed for heart disease patients.

Statin drugs

One of the most common drugs that are used to lower cholesterol level is statin drug. Statin improves liver capacity to remove cholesterol that is present in the bloodstream. It also lowers the production of LDL (lower density lipoprotein). Many high cholesterol patients are advised to take statin when nothing else helps them decrease the cholesterol level.


With the ability to decrease the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and triglyceride, niacin also effectively increases HDL(high-density lipoprotein). Niacin is a form of vitamin B which is also used to treat people who have already suffered a heart attack.

Bile acid sequestrants

This kind of drug is given with a statin drug to enhance its effect. Bile acid sequestrants lower LDL(low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and mixes with bile acids which contain cholesterol in the intestine and

Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

Blocks the absorption of LDL in the intestine thus lowering the LDL cholesterol level in the body, Cholesterol absorption inhibitors may also be given with statin drug.

One can also switch to natural product supplements like red yeast rice, oat bran (present in oatmeal and whole oats), and barley. But make sure to consult with the doctor before consuming it. Any kind of disease can be moderated and treated to provide an adequate amount of relief through proper guidance and care. High Cholesterol, when maintained at a healthy level, helps to avoid the risk of getting heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and stroke.


Que1. What is the best drink to lower high cholesterol?

Ans-Green tea, lemon juice and cranberry juice may help decrease the level of high cholesterol.

Que2. Can drinking water help to decrease high cholesterol?

Ans-Water cleans the blood and also removes the excess amount of cholesterol, thus lowering the cholesterol level.

Que3. Does sleep affect high cholesterol?

Ans-Too much or too less sleep affects the lipid levels negatively, sleeping for less than five hours increases the levels of triglycerides and lowers HDL cholesterol levels.

Que4. Is banana good for high Cholesterol?

Ans-Fruits like banana, apple, and citrus fruit like orange can help lower high cholesterol.

Que5. Can high cholesterol make you tired?

Ans-High cholesterol does not cause tiredness directly instead it has other side effects that lead to heart diseases and a person suffering from a heart condition may find difficulty in breathing or may feel tired often.

Que6. What should I eat for breakfast to lower my cholesterol?

Ans- Include orange juice, almond milk, egg white scramble, avocado toast, or oatmeal to start your day with a healthy breakfast

Que7. Does losing weight lower cholesterol?

Ans- If a person is losing as little as five per cent of the bodyweight than there are chances of lowering the cholesterol levels

Que8. Does high cholesterol make you tired?

Ans- No, high cholesterol does not really cause fatigue but it can lead to heart disease.

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