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High cholesterol: The ‘most important’ sign of high levels that may be ‘life-threatening’

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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“For most people, high cholesterol has no particular symptoms and is picked up on a blood test,” said Dr Luke Pratsides from the health clinic Numan. Characterised by a lack of symptoms, cholesterol can be difficult to detect through signs. However, chest pain could indicate high levels.

Dr Pratsides said: “The most important sign of high cholesterol causing damage to the heart is if you start to experience chest pain.”

The Mayo Clinic details this can occur when cholesterol builds up in your artery walls with other deposits.

Known as atherosclerosis, this process can reduce the blood flow through your arteries.

This can then lead to complications, including chest pain.

The health portal shares that chest pain is also known as angina.

The Heart UK details this as a dull, heavy or tight pain, which can travel to your left arm, neck, jaw or back.

The pain can be caused by exercise or activity, as the heart needs more oxygen during this time.

Dr Pratsides added how to spot this high cholesterol sign: “In particular, if this is left-sided, central or radiating to the left arm or neck or if it is made worse on exertion you should seek urgent medical attention by calling 999 or attending accident and emergency, as this could be a sign of a life-threatening heart attack.”

As the expert noted, chest pain could also indicate that your cholesterol has progressed into a cardiovascular condition, such as:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack.

Coronary heart disease can lead to the likes of chest pain, heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.

While the Heart UK warns that a heart attack is considered a “medical emergency” triggered by a blood clot.

The clot consequently cuts off your blood supply which could leave part of the heart muscle to die.

The warning signs of this serious medical emergency include:

  • Crushing pain in the chest
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Feeling weak or faint.

If you think you or someone else might be having a heart attack, you need to call 999 “straight away”.

How to lower high cholesterol

From lifestyle changes to medicine, there’s plenty you can do to lower your levels.

A cholesterol-busting diet will focus on cutting back on fatty food rich in saturated fat.

Other lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol intake, could also provide aid.

However, some people might have to take a medication called statins to keep their levels in check and avoid further problems.

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