You’ve been told that maintaining optimum cholesterol levels can help you to stave off a heart attack or a stroke. It all sounds like good advice but for those who do not fully understand what cholesterol is and how it affects them, they may need to start at the beginning with learning the various symptoms & causes of high cholesterol.

What Is Cholesterol?

One of the first things you must understand is that cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. Your body actually needs a certain amount of it in order to function properly so the warnings given by medical professionals are not to avoid cholesterol but to maintain a healthy supply of it. If you have too much it will begin to build up in your arteries, which can lead to conditions like the hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) or to heart problems. As the passageway in the arteries narrow down it becomes harder for the blood to travel throughout the body. As a result, high blood pressure, blood clots and inflammation can result, which in turn increases your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.

There are two kinds of cholesterol and these are the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and the HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. Having a higher level of good cholesterol can lower your risk of heart problems while having a higher level of bad cholesterol can increase your risk.

Best Ways to Manage Your Cholesterol Level

Managing your cholesterol level can be a smart move in protecting your health. The better managed your levels are the less likely you’ll experience the symptoms & causes of high cholesterol. You can control your levels by eating the right foods. It’s best to avoid foods with lots of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol; all foods that can cause a spike in your levels.

Your weight and age can also be factors in high cholesterol levels. Those who are overweight may see a drop in their HDL and those over 20 often see an increase in their overall cholesterol levels. By getting your weight under control you can do a lot to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

What You Can Do

You can start by knowing the symptoms of coronary artery disease, heart attack, peripheral arterial disease (PAD), and stroke. Symptoms of heart disease include nausea; shortness of breath; pain in the chest, jaw, neck back or upper abdomen; extreme fatigue; and feelings of numbness or coldness in the extremities. Symptoms of stroke include sudden dizziness; sudden loss of coordination and balance; confusion; facial asymmetry like drooping mouth or eyelid on one side; slurring words; sudden severe headache; numbness in the arms, legs and face, particularly on one side. Symptoms of heart attack include dizziness; difficulty breathing; excessive fatigue; anxiety; nausea, heartburn or indigestion; and pain, tightness or feeling of fullness in the arms of chest. Symptoms of PAD include achiness, cramping, discomfort in feet and legs, and fatigue.

The best way to manage and control your levels is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Start by eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and low-fat foods. Get into a regular routine of activity that will help you to burn off the excess fats you may be accumulating and work hard to shed any excess pounds can do wonders for controlling cholesterol.