Since there is a lack of high cholesterol symptoms, many people find it hard to recognize if they have a problem. Actual diagnosis is by testing blood. Doctors recommend that everyone over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol levels checked once every four to six years.
High Cholesterol Risk
Elevated cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors for atherosclerosis and subsequent heart disease. On the other hand, having "normal" cholesterol numbers does not mean that you are safe from heart disease.
When cholesterol levels get higher, in most cases the liver is producing more cholesterol in response to a need somewhere else in the body. Therefore, it is essential to identify the factors that prompted your body to produce the excess cholesterol rather than rely on drugs to lower the cholesterol levels.
There are two recognized types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol called "bad" cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol called "good" cholesterol. The fact is that LDL cholesterol is only dangerous when it becomes oxidized. The cholesterol blood test, however, does not provide levels of the oxidized LDL; therefore, further testing is needed to help determine an individual’s true heart disease risk.
As already mentioned, there are no direct symptoms for the elevated levels of cholesterol in most cases. Cholesterol surplus can cause a plaque buildup within the arteries. They become narrowed, which decreases the blood flow and affects the functioning of the cells and organs that rely on these blood vessels. If you have occasional chest pain, this may or may not be the case. If the blood supply to part of the heart or brain is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack or stroke. However, research studies confirm that 50% of people suffering from heart attacks have normal cholesterol numbers based on the standard testing.
There are groups of people who are likely to have a predisposition for high cholesterol levels. These are smokers, obese people, people with diabetes, and those who don’t exercise at all and have a poor diet. Hypercholesterolemia can also be inherited as a genetic condition.
It's always a good idea to keep a healthy diet and be physically active in order to stay on top of cholesterol control. Remember - it's never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes.