Cholesterol is a wax-like substance, created by the liver to protect the nerves, generate tissues, and produce specific hormones. However, excess cholesterol might have adverse effects on your well-being and can cause severe diseases. The storage of extra cholesterol is the cause of high cholesterol.
Diseases caused due to high cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. Arteries help to transfer blood from the heart to the other parts of the body. The extra cholesterol that gets stored in the arteries can cause blockages, thus disrupting the transfer of blood. It can be the catalyst causing various ailments, and the challenge is that the symptoms of the same are not easily detectable until it reaches critical levels.
- Heart attack
The most common problems that high cholesterol causes are heart problems, which can be anything from chest pain to a heart attack.
The excess cholesterol can form layers in the arteries and affect the transfer of blood. Over time, with the formation of the layers, the arteries start being narrow. When the flow of blood to the heart is constrained, it causes chest pain, known as angina. Over a while, if any blood vessel gets blocked, it causes a heart attack.
When the arteries carrying oxygen and other nutrients to all the parts of the body including the brain get blocked or burst, it causes a stroke. This blockage of arteries or blood vessels is known as atherosclerosis.
- Peripheral vascular disease
High cholesterol can also be the cause of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), which is an illness which affects the blood vessels or arteries that are outside the heart and brain. In this disease, a layer of fat builds up along the artery walls, and it affects the flow of blood. It mostly affects the arteries supplying blood to the legs and feet. PAD can also affect the circulation of blood to the kidney.
The most common type of diabetes that is linked to high cholesterol is type 2 diabetes, as it impacts the level of cholesterol in different ways. Even if the patient does not have blood sugar issues, diabetes can increase the level of triglycerides, diminish high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and occasionally raise the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). By sticking to the lipoproteins, glucose then enhances the flow of cholesterol with blood. The sugar-coated low-density lipoprotein stays in the blood vessels for longer and may cause plaque. These can be the causes of heart and artery ailments.
- High blood pressure
High blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension is also linked to high cholesterol. Due to the excess cholesterol, the blood vessels start becoming hard. The blood vessels also become narrow due to cholesterol plaque and calcium, because of which the heart has to exert more pressure to pump blood through the vessels. As a result, there is a rise in the blood pressure level causing high blood pressure problems.