What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?

Typically, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol. This means that you may not know if your cholesterol levels are high. However, a simple blood test, called a lipid panel or cholesterol screening, can determine your cholesterol levels. Knowing your levels helps you know if you are at risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Your health care provider will help you understand what your test results mean, what your levels should be, and how to control your level of cholesterol to reduce your health risks.

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

High cholesterol levels put you at risk of life-threatening conditions including heart attack and stroke. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Change in the level of consciousness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, or lethargy

  • Chest pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing

  • Nausea and vomiting associated with chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sweating or clammy skin for no apparent reason

  • Unexplained discomfort or pain in the upper body (neck, shoulders, back or arms)

  • Unusual dizziness or light-headedness that does not go away

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms of a stroke:

  • Change in level of consciousness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, or lethargy

  • Difficulty walking

  • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading

  • Loss of muscle coordination or balance

  • Loss of vision or changes in vision in one or both eyes

  • Sudden confusion or dizziness

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, particularly if it affects one side of the body

  • Sudden, severe headache or worst headache of your life


What is high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat, or lipid, which is important for a variety of functions in your body. Your body needs cholesterol to make cell membranes, bile acids, and certain hormones.

There are two main sources of cholesterol. Your body makes most (75%) of the cholesterol found in your blood. The rest (25%) comes from the foods you eat in the form of animal products. High chole... Read more about high cholesterolintroduction


What causes high cholesterol?

High cholesterol occurs when you get too much cholesterol through your diet, your body makes too much cholesterol, or your body is not able to get rid of enough cholesterol. Eating a diet high in saturated fats and animal products can be a source of too much cholesterol. This is called secondary hypercholesterolemia.

In some cases, high cholesterol is caused by a genetic condi... Read more about high cholesterolcauses


How is high cholesterol treated?

Your health care provider may recommend treatment of high cholesterol with lifestyle changes alone or in combination with medications to actively lower your cholesterol level. Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate physical exercise, and quitting smoking. Howeve... Read more about high cholesteroltreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Heart, Blood and Circulation