Hypercholesterolemia is simply high amounts of cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Your liver makes cholesterol for your body. It can also be gotten from some foods such as; meat, egg, butter, cheese. Fruits, vegetables, and grains have no cholesterol.
What Are the Types of Cholesterol?
Cholesterol in the blood doesn’t move through the body on its own. It combines with proteins to travel through the bloodstream. Cholesterol and protein travelling together are called lipoproteins.
The two main types of cholesterol are:
- 1. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol or “bad cholesterol“: This carries cholesterol from the liver into the bloodstream, where it can stick to the blood vessels. Decreasing the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood is an important part of decreasing the risk of heart disease.
- 2. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol or “good cholesterol“: This carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down. Therefore high levels of HDL are better.
You Need a Little, Not a Lot
Cholesterol is in every cell in your body. You need cholesterol to help your brain, skin, and other organs do their jobs. But eating too much fat and cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol floats around in your blood and can get into the walls of the blood vessels. This can cause the blood vessels to get stiffer, narrower, or clogged. If the clogging gets worse over many years.
Risk Factors for High cholesterol
- Diets high in saturated fat and trans-fatty acids
- Low fibre in the diet
- Physical inactivity
- Cigarette smoking
- Underactive thyroid
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
In most cases, high cholesterol levels are associated with an overly fatty diet coupled with an inactive lifestyle.
Symptoms of hypercholesterolemia
- Asymptomatic (Has no Symptoms), usually discovered by routine blood test
- Family history of stroke, heart attack or sudden death may point towards a genetic cause
- Chest pain
- Pain in the neck, jaw or back
- Sudden dizziness
- Slurred speech
- Inability to move one part of the body
- Leg pain especially when walking
- Numbness of any part of the body
However, don’t wait to develop these symptoms before you visit your Doctor
Complications of Hypercholesterolemia
- Angina (Chest pain)
- High blood pressure
- Heart Attack
- Blood vessel disease (PAD)
What investigations should I do?
- Serum Cholesterol
- Serum Triglyceride
- Serum HDL Cholesterol
- Serum LDL Cholesterol
- Blood Glucose Level
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
Who Should undergo these investigations?
- Any one from 20years and above should undergo these tests annually
- It can be done for those younger than 20years if there is a family history
How can you help yourself?
Lifestyle changes are the most effective means of treating high cholesterol. It includes:
- Weight loss
- Low caloric diet
- Low fatty food
- Increased intake of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise (Increased physical activity)
- Quit cigarette smoking