8 Signs of High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a substance that is naturally produced in your liver and is used to form some hormones and cell membranes in your body. Having too much cholesterol in your body can be an issue, though. LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol,” can build up in your arteries and cause a variety of health problems. HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” helps clear the LDL cholesterol out of your arteries and returns it to the liver. Your liver produces as much cholesterol as your body needs, but many common foods also contain bad cholesterol. Some high cholesterol foods include red meat, full fat dairy products, egg yolks, fried foods, and some baked goods. Consuming too many of these foods can cause high levels of cholesterol to build up in your body, especially in your arteries. This problem can develop over the course of many years without any signs or symptoms. However, high cholesterol can eventually lead to lots of different medical problems, and people often don’t realize that they have high cholesterol until it causes other issues. Here are eight signs and symptoms that may indicate that your cholesterol levels are too high:

1. Aortic Aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm occurs when part of the aorta weakens and balloons out. The aorta is the major artery leading from your heart. This condition is most common in people age 65 and older, but it can occur at any age. Aneurysms often develop gradually over years and have no symptoms, but if one ruptures, it’s a serious medical emergency. Symptoms of a ruptured aortic aneurysm include pain, dizziness, nausea, rapid heart rate, and low blood pressure.

There are many causes of aneurysms, but high cholesterol is one of the most common ones, especially when it’s linked to high blood pressure. Even mild high cholesterol and high blood pressure can interact with each other and damage your heart and blood vessels.

If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, the fatty substance can stick to your arterial walls. Over time, the substance will build up in your arteries and harden, forming a stiff plaque. The plaque will cause your arteries to narrow and stiffen, which increases your risk of an aortic aneurysm.

In one study, researchers compared 206 men with aortic aneurysms with 252 men without aneurysms. The men with aneurysms had significantly higher levels of LDL cholesterol, and the researchers concluded that high cholesterol increases the risk of aneurysms.