This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol
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High cholesterol rarely has any signs or symptoms, which is why it is frequently referred to as a “silent killer”. For this very reason, although it is estimated that 39.5 percent of UK adults have high cholesterol, it is likely many more people have gone undiagnosed.
However, there is an important sensation that could signal a “medical emergency” as the result of unhealthy cholesterol levels.
According to EverydayHealth: “Sometimes known as hyperlipidemia, high cholesterol is painless and doesn’t cause any symptoms until a person develops severe heart disease.”
Heart disease can eventually lead to heart attacks, which are often fatal.
However, they can also show symptoms in people including a feeling of “tightness in the chest”.
According to EverydayHealth, if you do notice such a feeling, this could be a sign of serious high cholesterol.
Even if you have low or healthy body weight, and feel mostly healthy, high cholesterol can affect anyone.
Though the condition can be spurred on by diet and lifestyle choices, many people also develop high cholesterol due to heredity factors.
How do I get tested for high cholesterol?
According to the NHS, you “can only find out if you have it from a blood test”.
The health service states: “Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high.
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“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have, like high blood pressure or diabetes.”
Similarly, if high cholesterol runs in your family, your GP may recommend a blood test.
There are two ways of having a high cholesterol test.
The first is through a traditional blood test, where blood is usually taken from the arm with a needle.
You might be asked not to eat anything for up to 12 hours before the test, but this is not always the case.
The blood sample is then sent to a lab to check your cholesterol level.
The NHS states: “You should get the result in a few days.”
The second option is to have a “finger prick test”.
The health service explains this is a check-up that “can help spot early signs of problems like heart disease and diabetes”.
The test is done by pricking your finger. A drop of blood is put on a strip of paper which is run through a machine able to detect cholesterol levels.
Often, it is part of the routine health check given to people over the age of 40.
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