High cholesterol is a condition in which there is too much cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in all cells of the body. It is needed for many important functions, such as making hormones and vitamin D. However, too much cholesterol can build up in the arteries and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
In most cases, high cholesterol has no symptoms. This is why it is often called a "silent killer." The only way to know if you have high cholesterol is to have a blood test.
There are a few silent symptoms of high cholesterol that you may notice. These include:
- Brittle or slow-growing toenails
- Yellow or white lumps on the eyelids (xanthelasmas)
- A pale ring around the iris (arcus senilis)
- Pain or swelling in the joints (tendon xanthomas)
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor to get a blood test. High cholesterol can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. In some cases, medication may also be needed.
Here are some tips to help you lower your cholesterol:
- Eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also means limiting unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats.
- Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Quit smoking. Smoking can raise your cholesterol levels.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Losing even a small amount of weight can help lower your cholesterol levels.
If you have high cholesterol, it is important to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. By following these tips, you can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease and other health problems.