Presse Santé

the 7 serious complications of hypercholesterolemia

High cholesterol can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which can lead to many problems. This is because high cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, coronary heart disease, and heart attack. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced by the liver and also found in certain foods that plays an important role in many different body functions. The body needs it to build cells, and it is a major component of bile, which aids in digestion. The presence of cholesterol in the body or in the blood is not bad at all. But problems can arise when blood levels are too high.

There are two main types of cholesterol circulating in the blood: high density lipoproteins (HDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol, helps protect against the harmful effects of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. If your LDL level is too high or your HDL level is too low, cholesterol can combine with other substances to form a hard deposit inside your arteries called plaque. The formation of plaques in your blood vessels, atherosclerosis, increases your risk of developing many health problems.

If the level of LDL cholesterol is high, it is very dangerous. Traditionally, it causes heart attacks, strokes, and clogged arteries.

But your total cholesterol level, which includes HDL, LDL, and a percentage of your triglyceride level, is also important because it often tracks closely with LDL cholesterol.
If your cholesterol level is too high, it’s important to take steps to lower it to prevent future health problems or stop or reverse problems you’ve developed.

The most important steps you can take to lower your cholesterol levels and your risk of health complications are not smoking, exercising, eating a heart-healthy diet, and losing weight if necessary. .

The most common health complications that can occur are due to high cholesterol

1. High blood pressure

When the arteries in your body narrow due to plaque deposits, your blood pressure can only increase. This is because your blood vessels can no longer relax as efficiently to allow your blood to flow at a healthy pressure level. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are both silent killers, as they have no direct symptoms unless the levels are extremely high. But they can damage your arteries over time, increasing your risk of other health problems.

2. Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease develops when plaque deposits form in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Initially, this reduction may not cause any obvious symptoms or problems. If a person has coronary artery disease but has not had a heart attack and the disease is treated with a stent or medication, the heart muscle can become normal.

But when plaque in the coronary arteries severely reduces blood flow to the heart, it can lead to heart failure, which is the heart’s inability to pump enough blood throughout the body. And if a blood clot forms in the coronary arteries, it can lead to a heart attack.

3. Chest pain (angina pectoris)

Chest pain is a common symptom of reduced blood flow to the heart due to the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. When you see a doctor for chest pain, one of the first things he thinks of is coronary artery disease. When an obstruction severely reduces blood flow to the heart, the heart muscle cannot get the oxygen it needs, a condition known as ischemia. This ischemia can then activate pain receptors.

4. Heart Attack

A heart attack usually occurs when a piece of plaque breaks off in a coronary artery. In response, your body tries to repair the rupture by forming a clot, which completely blocks the already narrowed artery and stops blood flow to your heart. High cholesterol is not the only factor in the initial formation of plaques in your coronary arteries. Once plaque has formed, high cholesterol can also cause the plaque to become more unstable, increasing your risk of heart attack.

5. Stroke

A stroke is similar to a heart attack because it can involve the destruction of arterial plaque and the formation of a clot. But in this case, it happened in an artery leading to the brain. A stroke occurs when a clot breaks off and travels deep into the blood vessels of your brain, cutting off blood flow to that part of the organ. Like a heart attack, the longer the area is deprived of oxygen, the more permanent the damage.

6. Peripheral arterial disease

When high cholesterol levels cause plaque to build up in the blood vessels, the heart and brain are not the only places where problems can arise. You may also notice a decrease in blood flow to your leg muscles. When a person has a blocked artery in their leg that restricts blood flow to the muscle, they will complain of pain. When he starts walking, he feels pain in his leg, and when he stops walking, this pain disappears. Pain in peripheral arterial disease is caused by a decrease in oxygen to the leg muscles, just as chest pain in coronary artery disease occurs because the heart does not get enough oxygen.

7. Chronic Kidney Disease

Most people don’t think of their kidneys as organs that can be damaged by high cholesterol, but narrowing of the arteries leading to the kidneys is a common problem. If a large enough obstruction forms, the kidneys will be deprived of oxygen over time, leading to permanent damage. One of the possible signs of blocked renal arteries is high blood pressure that does not respond to medication. In fact, the kidneys play an important role in the regulation of blood pressure by filtering the fluids in our body, including blood.

How to avoid complications

In order to treat or prevent any complications related to high cholesterol, the first thing patients need to do is identify aspects of their lifestyle that can be improved. First, make sure to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet, focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes per week and lose excess weight. .

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language that everyone can use. In NO CASE, the information provided is a substitute for the advice of a health professional.

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