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High Cholesterol Causes and Symptoms




Cholesterol is found in all parts of the body.  It is a yellowish, waxy, fat-like substance.  Your body requires cholesterol to function in a healthy manner.  However, too much of it and it will begin to accumulate on the interior surfaces of your arteries and veins.  We refer to this build up as plaque.  Your arteries can be narrowed and even blocked by cholesterol.

If the level of cholesterol in your blood is high, it may make the risk of heart disease greater.  Our level of cholesterol naturally rises as we age.  There are no symptoms or indications that your cholesterol is high but a blood test can measure it.  You may be prone to high cholesterol if you family members also have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods such as meat, eggs and dairy.

The liver produces most of the cholesterol that is found in the human body.  The food that is eaten in the western diet accounts for about 30 percent of the cholesterol.  Cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origins. There is no cholesterol in plant based foods.  Thus minimizing the consumption of meat, eggs and dairy and maximizing the consumption of grains, vegetables and fruits, is one of the most import remedies for high cholesterol.

We measure cholesterol in milligrams per 100 millimeters of blood.  Normally our cholesterol level will be from 150 to 200 mg. As cholesterol is found in our blood, it will be in combination with certain blood fats called lipids which we can refer to as lipoproteins.  There are two major types of lipoproteins.  One is of low density which we call LDL (low density lipoprotein) and the other is of a high density which we refer to as HDL (high density lipoprotein).  LDL is the “bad” one and HDL is the “good” one.  LDL is connected with deposits of cholesterol in the arteries and veins.  The greater the amount of LDL in relation to the HDL, the more significant is the risk of cardiovascular disease.  HDL is the reverse of this.  It plays a positive role by taking cholesterol out of the circulating blood supply and so reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.


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