Symptoms of High Cholesterol: Types, Causes, Treatments and Risk Factors

High cholesterol usually does not cause any symptoms.

In most cases, it only causes emergency events. For example, a heart attack or stroke may result from the damage caused by high cholesterol. Hence the importance of prevention with a healthy lifestyle.

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipids) in the blood, much like fat, a substance the body needs to function normally. Cholesterol is naturally present in cell walls or membranes throughout the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.

The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help digest fat. It is necessary for only a tiny amount of this cholesterol in the blood so that the body can meet these needs.

Suppose a person has excess cholesterol in the bloodstream. In that case, the excess may be deposited in the arteries, including the heart’s coronary arteries, the carotid arteries to the brain, and the arteries that supply blood to the legs.

Cholesterol deposits are a component of the plaques that cause narrowing and blockage of the arteries, causing a decrease in the blood supply.

The arteries become the starting point for some heart problems and blood flow. As we have already seen, the accumulation of cholesterol can narrow the arteries and make it harder for blood to flow through them.


There are different types of cholesterol.

LDL: Also known as bad cholesterol, this type of cholesterol at high levels increases the risk of developing heart disease.

There is a strong and graded correlation between LDL and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, both in men and women, although some researchers have debated this.

According to the European Society of Cardiology, the results of epidemiological and clinical trials confirm that reducing LDL should be a primary concern in preventing cardiovascular diseases.

HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol absorbs terrible cholesterol. High HDL levels reduce the risk of heart disease – but low levels increase the risk of heart-related diseases and stroke.

It absorbs cholesterol and returns it to the liver, overturned from the body. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because having high levels can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The risk factors

  • The food you eat.
  • Overweight.
  • The lack of physical activity.
  • Age.
  • The family history

Treatments for High Cholesterol

Changes in lifestyle

Changes in diet are always significant, even if you take medications to lower your risk. The doctor may suggest that you make one or more of the following changes:

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Lose weight if necessary, and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Be active on most days, if not all, some days of the week (at least three days a week).
  • Perform a routine of exercises recommended by an athlete or personal trainer.
  • No Smoking.


Some people decide to make lifestyle changes and start taking statins immediately because their chances are high, reducing the risk of having coronary heart disease.

For other people, who are unclear, it is advisable to consult your doctor in case there is any additional risk, such as myocardial infarction or stroke.

Statins block a substance produced by the liver used to make cholesterol. This causes the liver to remove cholesterol from the blood.

Statins can also help the body reabsorb cholesterol from deposits in the walls of arteries, which can reverse coronary artery disease. Options include lovastatin, fluvastatin, pravastatin, pitavastatin, simvastatin, and rosuvastatin.

The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile acids, a substance necessary for digestion. Cholestyramine indirectly reduces cholesterol by binding bile acids. This leads to the liver using excess cholesterol to make more bile acids.

Injectable medications A new class of drugs can help the liver absorb more LDL cholesterol – which decreases the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Alirocumab (Praluent) and evolocumab (Repatha) can be used for people with a genetic condition that causes very high LDL levels or in people with a history of coronary heart disease with an intolerance to statins or other cholesterol medications.

Remember that if you suffer from high levels of cholesterol in the blood, the doctor is the one who will guide you in the best treatment option according to a previous diagnosis; never self-medicate.