Risks of high cholesterol
High cholesterol is not a decease itself but is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular decease. Read more about the risks associated with high cholesterol.
High cholesterol increases the risk of several common heart and cardiovascular diseases. Here below you can read about some of the most common ones.
High cholesterol level in the blood can clog up the arteries with fat causing them to harden and narrow. The condition is known as atherosclerosis. The fatty deposits restrict blood flow to the body and all vital organs. Depending on where the clogging occurs it can cause different problems.
The coronary arteries are the ones that supply the heart with oxygen. If a clot comes lose and blocks the air supply to the heart it causes a myocardial infarction (heart attack), this can seriously damage the heart and needs emergency care. When the arteries start narrowing and start restricting the blood flow chest pain can occur. This is known as Angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is usually triggered by exercise or stress. If you experience any chest pain, seek medical help.
A stroke is when the blood flow to parts of the brain is cut off. This causes brain cells to die and can lead to injury, disabilities or death. It needs emergency medical care as the sooner it is treated the better outcome.
Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
Sometimes, if the blood supply is only temporarily interrupted causing lack of oxygen in parts of the brain. This is called transient ischaemic attack (TIA). The symptoms can be similar to stroke, such as speech and visual disturbances or numbness and weakness in arms, legs and face, but it is resolved within 24 hours. A TIA should be taken seriously and can be seen as a warning sign that there is a risk of having a stroke.
A blockage in the arteries to the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism, signs of it happening is shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain. Usually a pulmonary embolism is caused by a blood clot in the leg (known as Deep Vein Thrombosis) traveling to the lungs. If you have any of these signs then visit your GP.