Cholesterol: 6 symptoms that indicate you have too much

Too much cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) can be the cause of symptoms when complications arise. We take stock of the signs that should push you to consult.

Be careful not to demonize cholesterol: in the body, this lipid is essential for the synthesis of many hormones and contributes to the strength of the membranes which surround the cells. About 30% of the cholesterol that circulates in the body is provided by food (thanks to dairy products, meat …); the rest is made by the liver.

Cholesterol circulates in the blood thanks to two types of lipoproteins (which act as “carriers”): HDL (for High Density Lipoprotein or High Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (for Low Density Lipoprotein or Low Density Lipoprotein).

Unbalanced diet and overweight promote hypercholesterolemia

We speak of hypercholesterolemia when the cholesterol level in the blood is abnormally high: a “normal” cholesterol level should be less than 2 grams per liter, i.e. 5.17 mmol per liter. In the vast majority of cases, hypercholesterolemia corresponds to an excess of LDL cholesterol (the famous “bad” cholesterol): it is estimated that a “good” level of LDL cholesterol is between 1 g / L and 1.29 g / L.

Excess cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) is a major risk factor for most cardiovascular diseases: atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, stroke … It is therefore essential to carefully monitor your blood level of cholesterol (cholesterolemia) to live longer, and in good health.

To know. Many factors can increase blood cholesterol levels: being overweight (with a BMI over 25), an unbalanced diet (too much sugars, too much fat, too many ultra-processed products), taking certain drugs (contraceptives oral, for example) or thyroid disorders.

And also… Too much cholesterol in the blood (hypercholesterolemia) does not cause symptoms. On the other hand, when the blood cholesterol level is abnormally high, complications can appear – and these are symptomatic.

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2/6 – Calf pain
If the arteries in the lower limbs are clogged with excess cholesterol, pain may appear – especially in the calves. As for sensations, these are “cramps” which are not necessarily linked to physical activity since they can occur even at rest.

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3/6 – Erectile dysfunction
Because it gets deposited inside the arteries and thus prevents blood from reaching the penis, cholesterol can cause erectile dysfunction in men with high cholesterol.

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4/6 – Neurological disorders
If cholesterol builds up in the blood vessels inside the head, neurological symptoms may appear: dizziness, headache, slurred speech, numbness, problems with sight … These signs are often fleeting.

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5/6 – Shortness of breath
It has been said: excess cholesterol in the blood is a major cardiovascular risk factor. Thus, in the event of hypercholesterolemia, one can see developing shortness of breath on exertion (even at rest!) Which results from an attack of the heart muscle.

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6/6 – Xanthomas
Xanthomas are small, benign tumors (usually yellowish in color) that are made up of clumps of cholesterol. Xanthomas may appear in severe hypercholesterolemia and / or familial hypercholesterolemia.

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