Having high cholesterol levels increases your risk for heart disease, but what does high cholesterol feel like? Keep reading to find out.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver produces to help build cells. It is also present in meat, dairy, and other animal fats. While cholesterol is not inherently bad, too much high cholesterol can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Because of this, it’s essential that you keep track of your cholesterol and manage it effectively. Dr. Brandon Calenda, a non-invasive cardiovascular specialist at Atlantic Health System’s Chilton Medical Center, explains what you can look for and how to lower your cholesterol.
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
While high cholesterol is common and affects nearly 94 million adults, it is considered a silent killer due to its lack of symptoms. In fact, the only way to know if you have it for sure is through a blood test. Still, there are signs that are common in people with high cholesterol.
“One symptom to watch out for is angina,” Calenda explains. “This is discomfort in the chest, neck, jaw, or stomach that occurs predictably with exertion or stress and improves with rest. This can be a sign of blocked arteries within the heart.”
High cholesterol typically impacts the circulatory system, but it may also cause yellowish growths on the skin called xanthomas. “They are usually caused by high levels of blood cholesterol,” Calenda explains. “They are typically seen around the eyelids or the tendons of the hands and feet. Although they aren’t dangerous themselves, they are often a warning sign of extremely high cholesterol.”
Furthermore, because of the impact high cholesterol has on circulation, it may lead to impotence in men. “Together with other risk factors for vascular disease, blockages in small arteries and poor circulation can negatively impact sexual performance, and may be a symptom of high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease in general,” says Calenda.
Lowering Your Cholesterol
As a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, it is imperative that you control your cholesterol. Fortunately, you can improve your cholesterol health by making lifestyle changes and taking medication as necessary.
“For many people, improvements in diet (limiting intake of dietary cholesterol such as red meat, processed/cured meats, cheese, and many baked goods) can bring cholesterol levels down into normal range,” explains Calenda. “Eating a high fiber diet can also help lower cholesterol levels as well.”
In addition to changing your diet, you can improve your levels by exercising regularly, getting restful sleep, and avoiding smoking and drinking too much alcohol. It’s also important to keep in mind that even if you have cholesterol, you may not experience any of these symptoms.
Therefore, it’s important that you get regular checkups to get a proper and timely diagnosis. “There is no time like the present to get an assessment of your cardiovascular risk with a medical professional,” says Calenda.
If you’re looking for an additional boost, consider taking HeartBeet Complete. As a heart health supplement, its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, energy levels, and more. Give your heart the support it deserves by practicing healthy habits, checking your cholesterol, and taking HeartBeet Complete.