High Cholesterol

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Unfortunately, there are usually no symptoms or obvious warning signs when blood cholesterol levels are too high. Plaque builds up slowly in your arteries. Without checking cholesterol levels, people may not know they have high cholesterol and clogged arteries until they experience angina -- chest pain related to heart disease -- or suffer a heart attack or stroke.

People with severely elevated cholesterol may have fat deposits in tendons (tissues that connect bone to muscle) and skin (called xanthomas), liver and spleen enlargement (that the doctor will feel on exam), and abdominal pain if pancreatitis develops.

However, unless your cholesterol is severe, the only way to know if your cholesterol levels are within desirable ranges is to have your blood tested. Have your cholesterol checked regularly, and take preventive steps to avoid the complications of high cholesterol. To learn about blood cholesterol testing, click "next" below.

Review Date: 12/31/2012

Reviewed By: Glenn Gandelman, MD, MPH, FACC Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College; Private Practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease in Greenwich, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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