High Cholesterol

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Symptoms and Effects of High Cholesterol

Too much cholesterol in the blood can be serious. But the effects of high cholesterol do not occur after days or weeks or even months. High cholesterol levels cause these serious problems over many years.

The effects of high cholesterol are due to a condition called

atherosclerosis

, which is narrowing and hardening of arteries. Because atherosclerosis can affect any blood vessel in the body, the effects of high cholesterol due to atherosclerosis include:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Angina
  • Heart arrhythmias (an irregular heart rhythm)
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA, or “mini-stroke”)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • High blood pressure.

(Click High Cholesterol Symptoms or Effects of High Cholesterol for more information.)

Testing for High Cholesterol

Currently, there are several

types of cholesterol

tests available. Each test examines different components of cholesterol and fats in the blood, including:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) — this is the “bad” cholesterol
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) — this is the “good” cholesterol
  • Triglycerides.

Some cholesterol tests — such as a lipid profile done at the doctor’s office — will look at all four components. Other tests (like most

home cholesterol tests

) only look at total cholesterol. Some cholesterol tests also provide a

cholesterol ratio

or

VLDL

(very low density lipoprotein) as part of their results.

Information on High Cholesterol

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Types of Cholesterol

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Causes of High Cholesterol

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Symptoms of High Cholesterol

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Cholesterol Test

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Cholesterol Levels

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Lowering Cholesterol

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Effects of High Cholesterol

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Plaque

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High Cholesterol Risk

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