Symptoms of High Cholesterol - Continued

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
January 17, 2018

What causes high cholesterol?

You may have a family tendency. Many of us are contributing to the problem with bad habits. Losing weight may be your best move. In a study of more than 3,000 overweight and obese Japanese adults, researchers concluded people should aim to lose at least 3 percent of their weight to improve their lipid profile.

How to lower cholesterol

Changing your diet could help, too. Avoid soybean oil and partially hydrogenated oils, and favor fatty fish over marbled steaks and French fries. Women should drink no more than one wine or beer a day, men two. As scientists refine our understanding of the causes of heart disease, they are exploring a list of options to enhance the effect of statins or replace them.

Any kind of exercise is useful — high-intensity interval training may be the best. Quit smoking; even switching to electronic cigarettes helps.

It’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack, other than the obvious crushing pain in the chest. If you’re suddenly exhausted and can’t blame it on lack of sleep, take your temperature to see if you have flu. If you don’t, and you have any risk factors for heart disease, check with your doctor. Shortness of breath often comes right before a heart attack and may even be the main or only symptom.

Do you need a statin?

If you are concerned about your cholesterol and fall in the middle of the guidelines for taking a statin, you might first get a coronary artery calcium (CAC) screening, which should show you whether you have a build-up in your arteries known as plaque. If there are no signs of plaque, your chance of heart disease is lower, and many people opt against taking the drug.

One large study suggested that statins are most helpful for people from families with a history of high LDL cholesterol.

If you and your doctor decide that you could use a statin drug, stick with the program. Side effects are uncommon, according to an exhaustive report. Some people think they’ve having a side effect, which turns out to be caused by another issue. In one study, patients who dropped their statin because of a side effect were up to 20 percent more likely to have a stroke or die in the next four years than patients who stuck with it.


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March 03, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN