Cholesterol is an important compound in our body that needs to be regulated properly, in order to maintain good health. This is something you would have heard of from everyone, your doctor, your dietitian, your family and friends. Why so much talk about this particular condition? One main reason is because, high cholesterol levels are very difficult to detect, unless tested. That is, high cholesterol is a condition which has no or very less symptoms.
So what’s important about that, you may ask! The answer to that would be, something with no symptoms will often be undetected until it’s too late. This is often the case for those with high cholesterol, which is why there is so much interest on the subject today. Yes, it’s a ‘silent killer’, as they call it. So we need to be aware of this deathly cause!
The only way to identify symptoms of high cholesterol is through a blood test. Otherwise, it can be detected by diseases that this condition will lead to or trigger. These include coronary disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke. Atherosclerosis is a more immediate effect of high cholesterol which is caused by the development of plaques in arterial walls.
Very severe or high levels can be detected by symptoms directly caused by the condition itself, such as fat deposition in skin and tendons (referred as xanthoma), enlarged liver and spleen and often, abdominal pain due to pancreatitis.
But it’s best to avoid this severe stage, as treatment success is very less for such patients and the condition is very detrimental. Thus, best would be to go in for regular checkups to ensure your blood cholesterol is under controllable levels.
In certain special cases such as lipid disorders, people may show symptoms of high cholesterol such as deposition of excess cholesterol in the skin and eyelids, formation of nodules in tendons of the hands and feet, and sometimes yellow stripes in the hands.
You cannot feel this condition that develops in your blood stream as you can feel a cold, headache or cramp, as no such physical changes in your health will occur. This is the main reason why high cholesterol is detrimental. It can creep up on you and catch you totally unawares, and turn your life totally upside down.
The only way to avoid this silent killer is to avoid its causes. By following a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and less stress, you elevate your chances of not reaching high cholesterol conditions. Also, it’s best to avoid bad habits such as smoking and regular consuming of alcohol.
It is advisable to carry out regular tests for your blood cholesterol, starting at an age of 20. It is recommended to do a test every 5 years for healthy adults, while those with risk (prone to heart disease or stroke) should carryout examinations every two years. Children who have family histories of heart disease or high cholesterol are recommended to undergo screening too. This way, the condition can be avoided, and if your chances of risk increase, proper preventive measures can be taken, without waiting unawares and reaching a stage where it’s too late for an effective treatment plan.