High cholesterol and hypertension

A good amount of lipids or fats are necessary for the body to function well. However, too much amount of cholesterol can lead to detrimental health consequences. High cholesterol or hypercholesterolemia is when there is an excessive amount of lipids in the blood. The excessive fats accumulate in the arteries and may strain the heart when pumping, leading to high blood pressure.


Health consequences due to high cholesterol

Hypercholesterolemia results in various health problems which can often be prevented by diet, exercise and lifesstyle. Too much cholesterol in the blood leads to hypertension, coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral artery disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Other medical conditions often associated with high cholesterol are diabetes, chronic kidney disease, stroke and thyroid disease.

What is the link?

When the lipids levels are high, the arteries get clogged, causing blood flow impairment. Blood vessels like arteries are known to be narrow or stiff. When cholesterol accumulates in these arteries, the heart pumps blood harder for nutrients and oxygen. Thus, the pressure increases when the heart puts in a lot of effort to pump. Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension damage the arteries and eventually can affect other organs like kidneys, eyes, and brain.

Ways to lower your levels

Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension can lead to cardiovascular problems. To prevent detrimental effects on other organs, one needs to keep cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check. Take medications as directed by the healthcare provider. Incorporate a healthy lifestyle such as eating healthy, exercising, losing any excess weight, decreasing alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking. Having less stress, creating an environment of self-care and meditation can also help lower blood pressure.

Going for your screening

In the early stages, neither hypercholesterolemia nor hypertension may show signs or symptoms. However, one can still keep track of cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A blood test is done to check cholesterol levels and blood pressure is monitored using a blood pressure machine.

When to go for screening?

A primary care provider usually advises screening based on age and medical and family history. If obesity, diabetes or heart disease is part of a person’s family history, screening can start as early as grade school. Every yearly checkup typically includes basic vitals like a blood pressure check and standard lab testing, including cholesterol levels.

Watch your levels

Hypercholesterolemia can lead to hypertension and impact other essential organs. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, going for screenings, and taking the necessary medications will prevent the risk of diseases. Speak to a healthcare specialist to develop a plan for controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and making healthy lifestyle choices.