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High Cholesterol

High Cholesterol: Introduction

High cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia, is a very common condition in which the level of total cholesterol in the blood is higher than normal. High cholesterol is a serious condition and increases the risk of developing such life-threatening diseases as heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy, fat-like substance that is present in the blood and in the body's cells. It is both made by the body itself and is also brought into the body through eating certain foods such as animal meats, which contains various levels of cholesterol.

Cholesterol is comprised primarily of three components, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. These components of cholesterol are a necessary element in the proper functioning of the body. When the HDL, LDL, and triglycerides are present in the right levels and balance in the body, cholesterol functions to protect health, including cardiovascular health.

However, when the total cholesterol levels become too high, and the levels and balance of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides in the body are not normal, it can result in the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries and increase the risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. These include atherosclerosis, heart disease, blood clots, hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States, and more than a million Americans have myocardial infarctions, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute.

There generally are no symptoms of high cholesterol until complications develop. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of high cholesterol.

Making a diagnosis of high cholesterol includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. Diagnostic testing includes a blood test that measures cholesterol levels. Cholesterol testing primarily measures the total amount of cholesterol and the three components of cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

However, blood cholesterol levels are only one aspect that can help determine a person's total risk for developing cardiovascular disease. A comprehensive evaluation from a licensed health care professional includes compiling and analyzing many factors that impact cardiovascular disease risk. These include lifestyle, family history, personal history, dietary habits, weight, blood pressure, stress levels, and smoking/drinking habits. Other tests, including blood tests, EKG, and imaging tests, such as heart scans, are also evaluated to assess risk and if any complications of high cholesterol have developed.

It is very possible that a diagnosis of high cholesterol can be missed or delayed because there are generally no symptoms. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of high cholesterol.

High cholesterol can be successfully treated with an individualized treatment plan that best fits the individual case of high cholesterol and a person's life style. Treatment generally involves regular medical monitoring and cholesterol testing and lifestyle and dietary changes. Treatment may also include medication for some people who are unable to normalize their cholesterol levels through diet and lifestyle changes. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of high cholesterol. ...more »

High Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy, fat-like substance that is present in your blood and in the body's cells. It is both made by the body itself and brought into the body through eating foods such as animal meats, which contains various levels of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a necessary element in the proper functioning of your body. However, when cholesterol levels become too high, they can result in the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries and block the flow of blood to vital organs. This can lead to the development of serious conditions, such as atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), blood clots, hypertension, heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and stroke. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. More than a million Americans have heart attacks, and about a half million people die from heart disease every year, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute.

Cholesterol is comprised primarily of three components, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. When the levels and balance of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides in your body are not normal, they increase the risk for developing serious cardiovascular conditions. When the HDL and LDL triglycerides are present in the right levels and balance in your body, cholesterol functions to protect health, including cardiovascular health. High cholesterol is also known as hyperlipidemia and hypercholesterolemia. ...more »

High Cholesterol: Symptoms

There are generally no symptoms of high cholesterol. Likewise, people with normal cholesterol levels generally do not feel any better than people with high cholesterol levels. The only way to detect high cholesterol and determine how it impacts a person's total risk for cardiovascular disease is through a comprehensive evaluation from a licensed ...more symptoms »

High Cholesterol: Treatments

With regular medical care and consistent patient compliance with treatment, high cholesterol and all the components of cholesterol, including HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, can successfully be brought to normal levels in the right balance.

The most effective high cholesterol treatment plan uses a multifaceted approach. This includes preventive care aimed at ...more treatments »

High Cholesterol: Misdiagnosis

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of high cholesterol is vital to preventing serious, even life threatening complications, such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, blood clots, hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke.

A diagnosis of high cholesterol may be overlooked or delayed because there are no symptoms. Regular medical care, including physical examinations ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of High Cholesterol

Treatments for High Cholesterol

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to High Cholesterol:

Wrongly Diagnosed with High Cholesterol?

High Cholesterol: Related Patient Stories

High Cholesterol: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and High Cholesterol.

Alternative Treatments for High Cholesterol

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for High Cholesterol may include:

Types of High Cholesterol

Curable Types of High Cholesterol

Possibly curable types of High Cholesterol include:

  • Nephrotic syndrome induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Alcohol induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Steroid induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Anorexia nervosa induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypothyroidism induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Drug induced hypercholesterolemia- cimetidine, antiepileptics, tamoxifen
  • more types...»

Rare Types of High Cholesterol:

Rare types of High Cholesterol include:

  • Acute pancreatitis induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Glycogen storage disease induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Anorexia nervosa induced hypercholesterolemia
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Syndrome X induced hypercholesterolemia
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for High Cholesterol

Test for High Cholesterol in your own home

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High Cholesterol: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to High Cholesterol:

Causes of High Cholesterol

More information about causes of High Cholesterol:

Disease Topics Related To High Cholesterol

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, High Cholesterol:

High Cholesterol: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and High Cholesterol

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes a cluster of chronic symptoms. There are often four symptoms and conditions...read more »

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for...read more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but...read more »

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women...read more »

Undiagnosed causes of weight gain and obesity: Although obesity may be related to lifestyle issues, there are also a number of medical causes of weight gain or obesity that may go undiagnosed. Some of the...read more »

High Cholesterol: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: High Cholesterol

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to High Cholesterol:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to High Cholesterol, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

High Cholesterol: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for High Cholesterol

Medical research articles related to High Cholesterol include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

High Cholesterol: Animations

Prognosis for High Cholesterol

Prognosis for High Cholesterol: Prognosis varies depending on adherence and individual response to treatment plans. The aim is to prevent complications such as cardiovascular disease.

Research about High Cholesterol

Visit our research pages for current research about High Cholesterol treatments.

Clinical Trials for High Cholesterol

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for High Cholesterol include:

Statistics for High Cholesterol

High Cholesterol: Broader Related Topics

High Cholesterol Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about High Cholesterol, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver to help meet the body’s need for hormones and bile acids. It also enters the body when high-fat foods are consumed and when the body’s cholesterol level is higher than necessary for normal cell functioning. The resulting high blood cholesterol is a condition that greatly increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease. That is because extra cholesterol in the blood settles on the inner walls of the arteries, narrowing them, allowing less blood to pass through them to the heart. The higher your total blood cholesterol level, the greater your heart disease risk. (Source: excerpt from High Blood Cholesterol: NWHIC)

Definitions of High Cholesterol:

The presence of an abnormal amount of cholesterol in the cells and plasma of the blood; associated with the risk of atherosclerosis - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

 

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