August 8, 2023
Can High Cholesterol Cause Headaches?
Cholesterol is a substance in the body that has many important roles. For instance, it helps your body make hormones and regulates your metabolism. But having high levels of cholesterol can lead to a wide range of health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Some people with high cholesterol also suffer from headaches and may wonder if lowering their cholesterol can make their headaches go away.
If you have headaches, you may want to know whether high cholesterol is truly the root cause. Here’s a closer look at how high cholesterol affects the body, and how to contact Healthcare Associates of Texas to request an appointment.
What Does High Cholesterol Do to the Body?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL cholesterol is known as “bad” cholesterol. If you have high amounts of LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. These fatty deposits of LDL cholesterol can cause your arteries to become harder and narrower, making it difficult for blood to flow through. Eventually, these deposits can break free and form a blood clot that leads to a heart attack or stroke.
HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol. This form of cholesterol picks up extra cholesterol and takes it back to your liver. If your HDL cholesterol levels are low, your body can have difficulty removing extra LDL.
Having high levels of HDL is good, but having high levels of LDL is bad. Heart attack and stroke are the most common complications of high LDL cholesterol, as well as coronary artery disease.
Does Cholesterol Cause Headaches?
At this time, no evidence suggests that high cholesterol can cause headaches. However, it IS common for people with high cholesterol to frequently experience headaches. This is because many factors that cause high cholesterol can also increase the risk of headaches.
Risk factors for high cholesterol include:
·Poor diet and nutrition.
·Lack of exercise.
For example, you may have headaches if you have high cholesterol due to eating high amounts of sugar. Sugar can lead to spikes in blood sugar that can trigger headaches. Or, if you drink high amounts of alcohol, you can experience headaches linked to dehydration or from the sugars in alcohol.
Can High Cholesterol Cause Dizziness?
High cholesterol itself does not cause dizziness. However, just like with headaches, dizziness in people with high cholesterol can be caused by related behaviors or health conditions.
For instance, dizziness is a symptom of heart attack and stroke. You may also experience dizziness after activities, such as eating foods high in sugar, smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol. Standing up quickly after sitting for long periods and being inactive may also lead to dizziness.
How to Treat Cholesterol Headaches
Given how high cholesterol cannot cause headaches, you need to identify the root cause of your headaches. The most effective way to treat any headache is to address its root cause. Headaches are a symptom of a countless number of conditions, so sometimes, it may be difficult to pinpoint their exact cause.
Common causes and risk factors of headaches include:
·Lack of sleep.
·Illnesses, such as the common cold or flu.
·High blood pressure.
·Excess screen use (such as watching TV or using a smartphone for long periods).
After determining the cause of your headaches, you can change your lifestyle as needed to prevent them. For example, if you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, making a simple change such as drinking more water could resolve your headaches.
If you’re still unsure why you’re having headaches, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can review your medical history and may even run a few tests to determine the cause or problem.
Tips On Lowering Your Cholesterol
High LDL cholesterol can usually be prevented, even if you have a family history of high cholesterol. In most cases, you can lower your cholesterol by making a series of lifestyle changes.
Here are effective ways to lower your LDL cholesterol:
·Exercise regularly. Exercise can help break down fatty deposits of cholesterol that are clogging your arteries. It can also increase your HDL. Try to exercise on most days of the week, even if you only have time to take a brief walk.
·Improve your nutrition. A heart-healthy diet can help you manage your cholesterol. Some foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can also help your body make more HDL. Stop eating foods that are high in sugar, trans fats and saturated fats — such as candies, pastries and fried foods. Instead, eat a larger amount of fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
·Lose excess weight. Obesity is a risk factor for high cholesterol. Focus on losing excess weight, such as through exercise, nutrition and stress management.
·Don’t smoke. Smoking can make the fatty deposits in your arteries even stickier and make it harder for your body to reduce LDL cholesterol. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation treatments, such as medications that can help you quit.
·Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol spikes your cholesterol and can cause or worsen headaches. Limit your alcohol intake, and drink plenty of water when you do drink alcohol to prevent headaches.
·Manage stress. Stress can increase your levels of cortisol and other hormones that can increase your LDL cholesterol. It can also cause headaches. Try new methods for relieving stress, such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing.
When to See a Doctor
High cholesterol and headaches are both serious medical problems that require treatment. Headaches that are severe and that occur frequently could indicate a serious condition, which is why seeing your doctor for an evaluation is important.
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor can work with you to lower it. Your doctor may suggest certain lifestyle changes that can naturally reduce LDL cholesterol, such as modifying your diet and being more active. In some instances, you may be prescribed medications, such as statins, that can help reduce high cholesterol.
Request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas today to receive treatment for any medical issue, including headaches. We can also work with you to manage high cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. We offer a variety of primary care services, including wellness exams, screenings and more.
- CDC. 2019. “Knowing Your Risk: High Cholesterol.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 6, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/risk_factors.htm.
- “Headache: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” 2016. Medlineplus.gov. 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003024.htm.
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