As you may already know, LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form plaque, which can narrow and reduce the flow of blood through your arteries (arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart). This plaque buildup can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis (ath-uh-roh-skluh-ro-sis)—also known as “the hardening of the arteries.”
High LDL cholesterol can build up and form plaque
Your doctor may diagnose you with atherosclerotic heart or blood vessel problems if you have any of the conditions or procedures discussed below
Angina: Symptoms may include chest pressure or tightness
Heart attack: Symptoms may include pressure in the chest or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Shortness of breath or feeling nauseous or lightheaded may also occur
Stroke: Symptoms can include numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg
TIA (or mini-stroke): Stroke-like symptoms can come on quickly and last about a minute
Peripheral artery disease (PAD): Symptoms may include leg or buttocks pain during physical activity, such as walking. The pain goes away when the activity stops
Stent: A wire mesh tube is inserted into an artery to keep it open so blood flows to the heart
Bypass surgery: Reroutes blood flow around clot to improve blood flow to the heart muscle
What causes high LDL?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. Different factors can affect your cholesterol levels, such as diet, weight, lack of physical activity, and gender. You can also inherit the genes from your family that cause your cholesterol to be high.
High cholesterol, including LDL cholesterol, has no symptoms.
Even if you're eating right and taking a statin, your high LDL levels may still be uncontrolled.
Why it’s important to treat high LDL
Higher LDL levels can increase your risk of heart disease, in addition to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of your high LDL treatment.
Eating right and taking a statin are important factors for maintaining your LDL level. What you may not know, however, is that even if you’re doing all of this, your high LDL may still be uncontrolled.
High LDL has no symptoms—only a blood test can tell if your LDL is high.
Talk to your doctor about high LDL
Get customized talking points to help have an informed conversation at your next doctor’s appointment.Build your Doctor Discussion Guide
Need extra resources to help lower your LDL?
Get additional information to help manage your LDL treatment with these helpful online cholesterol resources.Learn more