Cholesterol is a substance that is present throughout our body and necessary for life. To be precise, it is a component of the plasma membrane, which borders the cells and participates in the synthesis of hormones steroids, bile and vitamin D. However, when it is present in excess, it could cause serious health problems. Generally speaking, an increase of cholesterol total in the blood could be due to genetic reasons, such as familial hypercholesterolemia or hypothyroidism, liver disease, disorders causing bile stasis, nephrotic syndrome, chronic renal failure, and even alcoholism.
In the early initial stages, high cholesterol, a phenomenon called hypercholesterolemia, is an asymptomatic condition, that is, it does not involve real and proper manifestations indicative of its presence. There is one exception, however, and that is homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia. In this particular case, already from childhood we begin to notice deposits of cholesterol in the skin, in the tendons and think about it, even around the cornea of the eye, as well as further symptoms such as plaques lipids. When the disease is in an advanced stage, if high cholesterol it is not managed correctly, it can give a sign of itself with strong pains in the chest and an equally strong sense of oppression or constriction, as well as cramps during a walk, mental confusion and headache.
Hypercholesterolemia is, in fact, considered as one of the main risk factors for the development of diseases cardiovascular. More precisely, we need to worry about an increase in cholesterol carried by low-density lipoproteins, also called LDL or commonly “bad cholesterol”. If it is in excess, the latter tends to accumulate in large quantities on the walls of the blood vessels, thus forming various thickenings and plaques, which tend to hinder the correct flow of blood. blood and moreover, they can also lead to vascular ischemia.
On the contrary instead, the cholesterol referred to as HDL, to be clear “good cholesterol”, or the one carried by lipoproteins at high density, tends to lower this risk. HDL particles help cleanse our body of cholesterol, which they carry to liver for deletion. Fortunately the high cholesterol, even if it does not produce direct signs or symptoms, it is easily identified through a simple blood test. The recommended age to begin a process of periodic monitoring of cholesterol levels is 20 years of age, and constitutes a wise and recommendable practice. It is advisable to repeat the examination every five years, even in the absence of symptoms.