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 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.
Review Date: 10/31/2006
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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