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Home > Symptoms > High Cholesterol Level Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

High Cholesterol Level Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

High Cholesterol Level Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment | Max Lab

Overview of High cholesterol

High cholesterol can pose serious health risks, leading to a heart attack, stroke or liver disease. It is often caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and certain genetic factors.

What is cholesterol?

A waxy substance called cholesterol can be found in your blood's lipids (or fats). To function properly, your body needs some cholesterol. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries and form plaque. Plaque is a buildup of cholesterol, fat, and other substances in and on your artery walls. 

Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other organs. Plaque can also rupture (break open) suddenly. This causes a heart attack or stroke.

You can have high cholesterol and not know it because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 20 if you have any risk factors for heart disease or stroke.

Causes of High Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels can be caused by a variety of things. genetics, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and certain medical conditions can all contribute to high cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, it is important to identify the cause so that you can make the necessary changes to improve your health. Work with your doctor to determine the cause of your high cholesterol and develop a plan to lower your levels.

High Cholesterol Symptoms

When you have high cholesterol, it can cause a buildup of plaque in your arteries. This can lead to narrowing of the arteries, which can then lead to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and an irregular heartbeat. 

  • Chest Pain: One of the most common symptoms of high cholesterol is chest pain. This can be a sharp, stabbing pain or a dull, aching pain. It may come and go, or it may be constant. Chest pain is usually caused by plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. When plaque narrows these arteries, it decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart muscle. This can lead to angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.
  • Shortness of Breath: If you have high cholesterol, you may experience shortness of breath. This is because the fatty deposits in your arteries can narrow them, making it harder for blood to flow through. This can lead to a build-up of fluid in your lungs and difficulty breathing. If you have shortness of breath and think it may be due to high cholesterol, see your doctor for an evaluation.
  • Irregular Heartbeat: When your heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or in an irregular pattern, this is referred to as an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. It can feel like your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard.

If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to see your doctor right away so that you can get treatment.

Diagnosis of High Cholesterol

If you have any of the high cholesterol symptoms mentioned above and are concerned about your cholesterol levels, make an appointment to see your doctor. They will likely give you a physical exam and order a blood test called a lipid panel to measure your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.

If your LDL level is 130 mg/dL or higher, your HDL level is less than 40 mg/dL, or your triglyceride level is 150 mg/dL or higher, you have high cholesterol. Your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol levels.

List of Lab Tests to Diagnose High Cholesterol


How to Reduce a High Cholesterol Level

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce your cholesterol level. While medication may also be necessary, making these changes can have a significant impact on your overall health.

  • Diet: One of the most important ways to reduce cholesterol is through diet. Start by reducing saturated fats and trans fats. These are found in animal products, such as red meat and full-fat dairy, as well as processed foods like cookies, cakes, and crackers. Focus on consuming a lot of fruits, veggies, and whole grains instead. Fish is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Exercise: Getting regular exercise is another key way to reduce cholesterol levels. Exercise helps to increase HDL (good) cholesterol while reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week can make a big difference.
  • Weight Loss: If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can also help to lower your cholesterol levels. Even a small amount of weight loss can have an impact.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your cholesterol levels. One of the best things you can do for your health is to stop smoking if you currently do so.


If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to consult with your doctor to get your cholesterol levels checked. High cholesterol levels can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. However, with early detection and treatment, you can minimize your risk of developing these conditions.

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