High cholesterol levels do not always cause symptoms. However, high blood cholesterol increases the risk of conditions such as coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke, which may cause dizziness.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that the body requires in certain amounts for the healthy functioning of cells and bodily processes.
Molecules called lipoproteins carry cholesterol through the blood. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is sometimes known as “bad cholesterol,” while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as “good” cholesterol.
This article explores whether high cholesterol causes dizziness. It also discusses how high cholesterol can cause symptoms of other diseases.
It will also explore how a doctor diagnoses high cholesterol, the warning signs of high cholesterol, and how a person can monitor their cholesterol levels.
Risk factors for high cholesterol
- a diet high in saturated fats and trans fats
- lack of physical activity
- drinking excessive alcohol
- older age
Additionally, a family history of high cholesterol
According to the
- an LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter)
- a triglyceride level of less than 150 mg/dl
- an HDL cholesterol level greater than or equal to 40 mg/dL in males and 50 mg/dL in females
- a total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dl
An increase in cholesterol levels and the level of LDL cholesterol in the body may cause the buildup of fatty deposits known as
The narrowing of blood vessels decreases blood flow, including the passage of oxygen and other nutrients. These plaques may also develop further and completely
The formation of atherosclerotic plaques increases a person’s risk of developing other diseases. These
- peripheral arterial disease
- aortic aneurysms
- angina, or chest pain
- myocardial infarction, or heart attack
Some of these conditions, such as CAD, heart attack and stroke, may cause dizziness as a symptom.
A person with high levels of LDLs
High cholesterol may also put a person at risk of developing conditions that cause dizziness. Read on to find out more about these conditions and their symptoms.
A stroke occurs when there is a
Symptoms of a stroke
- face drooping to one side or one side of the face feeling numb
- decreased strength and sensation in one side, arm, leg, or both
- difficulty with speech or understanding speech
- trouble walking
- loss of balance
- severe headache
- vision issues in one or both eyes
CAD occurs when there is a
Symptoms of CAD
Heart attack symptoms
A myocardial infarction, or a heart attack,
A person experiencing a heart attack may
- chest pain in the center or left side of the chest
- pain in the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- shortness of breath
- cold sweat
- lightheadedness or dizziness
In comparison with males, females are more likely to experience certain symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back and jaw pain.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) symptoms
PAD occurs when the vessels that transport blood from the heart to the legs narrow or obstruct. The buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries is the
Symptoms of PAD
- leg pain during physical activity
- pain in the buttocks, hips, thighs, or calves
- cramps or aches when walking
- hair loss on the legs
- sores or ulcers in the legs or feet that do not heal
- cold or numb toes
A person will need to speak with a healthcare professional for a diagnosis of high cholesterol. A doctor will
The doctor may also perform a physical exam to look for signs of atypically high blood cholesterol, including fatty bumps on the skin or grayish-white rings around the cornea.
A healthcare professional is likely to also order blood tests to determine the level of cholesterol. This test is known as a lipid panel.
A lipid panel will measure the level of lipids in the blood, including:
- total cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
A doctor will use this panel to check for high cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels.
They may order an additional lipoprotein(a) test if a person has a family history of heart disease. This test measures the level of lipoprotein(a) in the blood. High lipoprotein(a) levels increase the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.
High cholesterol itself
However, a person with very high cholesterol may present with fatty bumps on their skin and grayish-white rings around the corneas of their eyes.
A person can
According to the
- every 5 years for people aged 19 or younger and beginning at ages 9 to 11
- every 5 years for young adults
- every 1–2 years for males aged 45–65 and females aged 55–65
- every year for people over the age of 65
Other organizations may have different recommendations. For example, the
A person should consult a doctor if they experience the above symptoms, including those for other conditions that may cause dizziness or occur due to high cholesterol.
A person should also speak with their doctor if they have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease and wish to screen for their cholesterol level.
A person can prevent atypical blood cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes.
For example, they can reduce the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood by following a heart-healthy diet that includes foods
- leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and carrots
- whole grains such as brown rice and plain oatmeal
- fat-free or low fat dairy foods such as milk and cheese
- protein-rich foods such as fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and seeds
A person can also
- exercising regularly
- maintaining a moderate weight
- quitting smoking, if applicable
- limiting alcohol consumption
A person may also receive prescription medication, such as statins, from their doctor to help lower their high blood cholesterol.
High cholesterol occurs due to excess levels of cholesterol in the blood. While a person with high cholesterol may not experience symptoms, high cholesterol may lead to other conditions that can cause symptoms, such as dizziness. These conditions include CAD, stroke and heart attack.
The overall outlook for a person with high cholesterol will depend on several factors, including:
- the presence of other associated diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity
- the level of cholesterol present at diagnosis
Making lifestyle changes, such as following a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol consumption, can all help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
A person should speak with a healthcare professional if they experience any symptoms of high cholesterol or conditions relating to excess cholesterol levels.