It’s no secret that having high cholesterol raises your risk of developing a number of major health problems. But can high cholesterol cause headaches? Read on to know.
High cholesterol means that your blood has a high level of bad fats. According to the National Institutes of Health, it can be caused by particular medical conditions and medications in addition to lifestyle factors including poor diet and genetics.
If you have high cholesterol and have noticed some strange new symptoms, you might be wondering if your high cholesterol is the cause of them. Read on to know if can high cholesterol cause dizziness, headaches, or migraines.
What Is High Cholesterol?
Your liver produces cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance. It’s essential for the production of certain hormones, vitamin D, and cell membranes. Because cholesterol does not dissolve in water, it cannot move independently through your body.
Lipoproteins, which help move cholesterol through the bloodstream, are small particles. The two primary types of lipoproteins are as follows.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), also referred to as “bad cholesterol,” can build in the arteries and cause serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
The amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood rises when you eat too many high-fat foods. This is referred to as hypercholesterolemia, also known as high cholesterol or hyperlipidemia.
High-density lipoproteins (HDLs), sometimes known as “good cholesterol,” assist in transporting LDL cholesterol back to the liver for elimination.
If your LDL cholesterol levels are too high or your HDL cholesterol levels are too low, fatty deposits form in your blood vessels. It will be difficult to get enough blood to flow through your arteries because of these deposits. This could be fatal or it could result in problems throughout your entire body, especially in your heart and brain.
Can High Cholesterol Cause Headaches Or Not?
The majority of people with high cholesterol don’t show any symptoms until they experience a coronary stroke, or angina, a painful heart illness.
Does high cholesterol cause headaches or not? There is no definitive evidence that high cholesterol cause headaches. The physical symptoms are different if your cholesterol levels are quite high. We might find cholesterol build in some unexpected places, such as the Achilles tendon or your elbows. If cholesterol levels are high, you could notice buildup or deposits in the eyes, especially in younger people.
The problem is that headaches can sometimes be brought on by high cholesterol-related conditions, not by high cholesterol on its own.
Most of the time, high blood cholesterol does not cause headaches. Your brain is extremely adept at adapting to brief periods of high blood pressure. However, if these levels are significantly raised, headaches may occur.
Furthermore, risk factors for atherosclerosis are high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s not completely clear how that affects headaches. But high blood pressure brought on by plaque buildup in your arteries can also result in a stroke.
Does High Cholesterol Really Cause Migraines Or Not?
No studies have been done to establish a link between high cholesterol and migraines and headaches. We frequently assume that migraine headaches are caused by a vasodilation phenomenon, or when blood vessels expand or dilate. That is a very different phenomenon from atherosclerosis.
But in recent years, a number of studies have discovered interesting links between high cholesterol and migraine headaches.
For example, a 2015 study indicated that those with frequent, chronic migraines had higher levels of both LDL (or bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol. These levels fell after three months of treatment, which helped research participants’ migraines.
However, this study only included 52 participants, which is a very small sample size from which to draw solid conclusions. The findings also show that migraines are not brought on by high cholesterol. The overall conclusion is that there is an association when addressing migraine headaches. However, it’s not a given that there was a cause and effect.
In a different study from 2011, it was found that people with migraine with aura, a particular type of migraine that is followed by vision or speech changes, had higher total cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to those who did not have headaches. However, this is also an instance of association, so you can’t definitely infer that their migraines with aura were brought on by their higher cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, only participants in the Epidemiology of Vascular Aging Study—were classified as elderly. So, there isn’t any hard evidence that this is true for people of all ages.
There are many side effects of high cholesterol, continue reading to find out more about cholesterol side effects.
High Cholesterol Symptoms
Typically, high cholesterol has no symptoms of high cholesterol. Most of the time, it only results in emergency events. For instance, the damage brought on by high cholesterol can result in a heart attack or stroke.
How to know if you have high cholesterol or not? The only way to find out if your cholesterol is too high is through a blood test. This indicates having a total blood cholesterol level that is more than 200 mg/dL. After you are 20 ask a doctor to test your cholesterol. Then, every four to six years, have your cholesterol rechecked.
If you have a history of high cholesterol in your family, a doctor might recommend you have your cholesterol checked more frequently. They might also advise it if you have the danger signs listed below:
- High blood pressure.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a condition that results in high cholesterol that is transmitted through genes. The cholesterol levels of those who have this condition are 300 mg/dL or higher. They might develop xanthoma, which can show up as a lump or a yellow patch above your skin.
Coronary Artery Disease
Heart disease can include some conditions like coronary artery disease (CAD). It occurs when plaque buildup tightens or hardens the major arteries that feed your heart with blood.
Men and women may experience different heart disease symptoms. However, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both sexes in the United States, the most common signs include
- Angina, and chest pain.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain in your jaw, your neck, your upper abdomen, or your back.
You run a major risk of having the blood flow to an important part of your brain limited or cut off due to the plaque buildup brought on by high cholesterol. This is what takes place after just a stroke.
A stroke is an urgent medical problem. If you or someone you know displays symptoms of a stroke, it’s important to act quickly and seek medical attention, these signs and symptoms consist of
- Sudden dizziness.
- Sudden severe headache.
- Sudden loss of coordination and loss of balance.
- Slurring words.
- Facial asymmetry (drooping eyelid and mouth just on one side)
- Being unable to move, especially on one side of your body
- Numbness in your face, your arm, or your leg, especially on one side of the body,
- Blackened vision, double vision, or blurred vision
Plaque buildup can cause the arteries that carry blood to the heart to gradually narrow. Atherosclerosis is the name for this slow, symptomatic process. The plaque may eventually fracture and lose a piece. A blood clot forms around the plaque as a result. It may prevent the blood from reaching the heart muscle, starving it of oxygen and nutrients.
Ischemia is the medical term for this deficiency. A heart attack occurs when the heart sustains an injury or when a portion of the heart starts to die from a lack of oxygen. Myocardial infarction is the word used medically to denote a heart attack.
According to the American Heart Association, a heart attack takes place in the US about every 39 seconds. Symptoms of a heart attack are
- Chest or arms feeling tight, squeezing, full, painful, or hurting.
- Hard to breathe.
- Anxiety or a feeling of impending doom.
- Excessive fatigue.
A heart attack is an emergency health condition that you need to be aware of. If treatment is not started during the first few hours of a heart attack, damage to the heart might become irreversible or even fatal.
If you or someone you know experiences heart attack symptoms, it’s critical to act quickly and seek medical assistance.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Plaque buildup on the artery walls can result in peripheral artery disease (PAD). The arteries that provide blood to your arms, kidneys, stomach, legs, and feet will be blocked as a consequence, and early PAD symptoms may include
- Intermittent claudication refers to leg pain that happens during physical activity or exercise.
- Discomfort in legs and feet.
The symptoms of PAD worsen with time and can even occur while you’re resting. Later signs and symptoms of reduced blood flow include
- Thinning, shininess, or paleness on the skin of legs and feet
- Gangrene, the term for tissue death brought on by a lack of blood flow.
- Legs and feet ulcers that take a long time to heal or don’t heal at all.
- Leg pain that continues even after resting.
- Burning in toes.
- Toes that turn blue.
- Thick toenails.
- Leg cramps.
- Reduced leg hair growth.
- A decrease in the lower leg’s or foot’s temperature compared to the other leg.
People with PAD have a higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or limb amputation.
What Is Considered Dangerously High Cholesterol?
Here are two helpful charts to determine whether your cholesterol levels are normal, borderline, or problematic.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels For All Ages And Genders
|Age and Sex||Total Cholesterol||Non-HDL Cholesterol||LDL Cholesterol||HDL Cholesterol|
|People 19 years old or younger||Less than 170mg/dL||Less than 120mg/dL||Less than 100mg/dL||Greater than 45mg/dL|
|Men aged 20+||125 to 200mg/dL||Less than 130mg/dL||Less than 100mg/dL||40 or higher mg/dL|
|Women aged 20+||125 to 200mg/dL||Less than 130mg/dL||Less than 100mg/dL||50 or higher mg/dL|
Cholesterol Levels Between Borderline And High For Different Ages and Genders
|Age and Sex||Total Cholesterol||Non-HDL Cholesterol||LDL Cholesterol||HDL Cholesterol|
|Upto 19 years old||170-199mg/dL||200+mg/dL||110-129mg/dL||130+mg/dL|
|Men aged 20+||200-239mg/dL||240+mg/dL||130-159mg/dL||160-189mg/dL|
|Women aged 20+||200-239mg/dL||240+mg/dL||130-159mg/dL||160-189mg/dL|
Adults are considered to have healthy total cholesterol levels if they fall below 200 mg/dL. 200 to 239 mg/dL is considered to be borderline high. A value of 240 mg/dL or higher is considered as high.
Due to the liver’s decreased ability to remove LDL cholesterol, cholesterol levels in the body naturally begin to rise when we age. Regular cholesterol testing is essential so your doctor can detect any problems early on.
When high cholesterol is discovered early, treatment is easier. In this way, you can take charge of the situation by making minor lifestyle modifications.
Useful Tips To Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
It could seem hard to naturally lower your cholesterol. You can, though, take simple measures to make it more manageable. Here are the best natural remedies you may do right away to start lowering your cholesterol.
Although you can’t completely lower your risk, several lifestyle changes may help reduce risk factors.
Foods To Eat
The fight against high cholesterol is a tasty battle! Here are some tips to get you going:
- Eat foods high in fiber, such as oats, beans, and legumes.
- Consume unsaturated fats from foods like avocados, vegetables and most nut oils, and other sources.
- Arrange a rainbow of fruits and vegetables on your plate.
Foods To Avoid
You should limit eating:
- Baked goods.
- Fast food.
- Full-fat dairy.
- Fried foods.
- Ted meat.
- Hydrogenated oils.
- Refined sugars.
- Refined grains.
- Energy drinks
These foods are acceptable on occasion and in moderation, but cutting back on them can naturally lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Exercise of a moderate to high intensity lowers LDL levels. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are also increased by it. 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise is what experts advise. Instead, aim for 75 minutes or more of high-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Common aerobic exercise regimens include
- Jumping rope.
- Playing tennis.
Your risk of high cholesterol can increase if you are overweight or obese. Yet, that risk is manageable. Your cholesterol levels can be greatly impacted by even small weight loss. LDL and triglycerides can substantially decrease with just a 5% body weight loss.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Alcohol has two different effects on cholesterol. Based on how much and how frequently you drink, different effects result. Alcohol can raise your HDL when consumed in small to moderate amounts. Due to this, some people believe that alcohol can prevent heart disease. However, drinking alcohol in excess might actually raise triglycerides.
How much alcohol increases your cholesterol risk more than it raises is not entirely established from scientific research. Yet, doctors advise against drinking more than one drink each day for women and two for men.
Smoking has a number of adverse health effects, including raising cholesterol. Smoking has two effects on cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is increased while HDL cholesterol is lowered. It is very simple to reverse this effect after you stop smoking. In fact, 3 weeks after quitting smoking, HDL levels can start to rise. Moreover, it will cause hair loss.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol in females?
What are the symptoms of high cholesterol in the body, actually? The truth is that high cholesterol has no symptoms at all.
How do you know if you have high cholesterol or not?
The only way for you to determine high cholesterol if you have it is through a blood test.
Does high cholesterol make you tired or not?
Like dehydration cause high blood pressure and tired, the fact is that tiredness does not directly result from high cholesterol. High cholesterol generally does not cause symptoms, although its side effects are frequently linked to high cholesterol symptoms fatigue. If untreated, high cholesterol can cause a stroke, peripheral artery disease, or coronary artery disease.
The Bottom Line
High blood cholesterol levels are the cause of high cholesterol. High cholesterol can create other conditions that can produce symptoms, such as dizziness, even though a person with high cholesterol may not have any symptoms themself. Heart attack, CAD, and stroke are some of these conditions.
Changing one’s lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising frequently, and drinking less alcohol can all help lower LDL cholesterol levels. If a person notices any signs of high cholesterol or illnesses linked to high cholesterol levels, they should consult a health professional.
Can high cholesterol cause headaches? There is no definitive evidence that high cholesterol cause headaches. The physical symptoms are different if your cholesterol levels are quite high.
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