Hypercholesterolemia, or hyperlipidaemia, is a condition that results from excessively high cholesterol levels in the blood. High blood cholesterol occurs when you have too many fats or lipids in your blood. Lipids are essential to the body in the performance of its normal functions. Only a specific amount is required for these body functions.
Therefore, if there are too many in the blood, not all will be used by the body. The extra fats or lipids are therefore stored in the arteries. When they are combined with other substances contained in the blood, they form fatty deposits referred to as plaque. Overtime, if not addressed, they lead to clogging and even blocking of arteries, resulting in other conditions.
high cholesterol levels are dangerous since it does not cause symptoms in most cases. This, therefore, means that it can go undetected for a long period. During this time, the plaque grows bigger and bigger in your blood vessels. Symptoms are therefore felt when this build-up causes other health issues in your body.
This build up is referred to as atherosclerosis. This affects the normal functioning of your blood vessels. They are not able to transport blood throughout your body as efficiently as they are supposed to. Atherosclerosis therefore exposes you to the risk of developing other conditions in your cardiovascular system.
Think of your cardiovascular system as a network of pipes. These pipes keep the flow of blood in your body. Consider plaque as waste materials like food leftovers that drain into the sink and clog the outlet pipes, slowing the process of water flowing down and finally out. Plaque, therefore, attaches to the inner linings of the blood vessels. As it grows bigger, it reduces the space through which blood flows, therefore limiting the amount of blood that can pass through the blood vessels. The heart has to use extra force to push blood throughout the body, particularly to the peripheral organs.
High cholesterol levels diseases
There are several diseases and conditions resulting from an inefficient cardiovascular system due to high cholesterol levels. A few of them are briefly described below:
- Coronary artery/heart disease (CAD)—is also referred to as ischemic heart disease. It occurs as a result of atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries that transport blood back to the heart. Insufficient blood supply to the heart weakens it and it eventually stops functioning as it should. This eventually causes heart failure or heart attack.
- Carotid artery disease occurs as a result of atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries that transport blood to the brain. The brain is therefore not able to receive enough oxygenated blood. This eventually causes a stroke.
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs as a result of atherosclerosis of the arteries of the legs and arms, affecting their normal functioning.
- High blood pressure (also referred to as hypertension and elevated blood pressure depending on the reading values) The narrowing of the blood vessels by calcium and cholesterol plaque causes the heart to use more force in pumping blood through them. This therefore increases the blood pressure. If it remains untreated, it results in stroke, heart attack, and even heart failure.
The conventional method of checking your high cholesterol levels is through a blood test known as a lipid panel. Through this method, you are able to know the number of lipids in circulation. The factors used to determine whether you have high cholesterol levels, low or normal levels are your gender, age, and history of any heart disease.
Advancements in technology have, however, introduced new ways of checking low or high cholesterol levels. In contrast to the lipid panel method, which is invasive, applications such as the daily+ Cholesterol monitor app by Docsun Health are used.
This app offers the advantage of noncontact and non-invasive checking of high cholesterol levels and provides the results faster than the lipid panel test. It also offers convenience to the user in that it can be used to check low or high cholesterol levels several times a day and keeps a record of these readings for analytical purposes. Premium users enjoy this benefit.