The Link Between High Cholesterol and Strokes

Can High Cholesterol Cause A Stroke?

Having high cholesterol can be linked to a number of health complications such as heart disease, vascular disease, and diabetes, as well as strokes. If you are concerned about your risk of developing high cholesterol and having a stroke, here’s what you should know.

What Is High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in your blood and aids the building of healthy cells. However, when cholesterol is high, fatty deposits can clog your arteries and keep your brain from getting the proper amount of blood and oxygen it needs. Should the fatty deposits break and form a clot, that could cause a stroke or heart attack.

There are 3 main types of cholesterol in the body:

  1. HDL: High-density lipoprotein (aka “good” cholesterol). HDL aids in removing excess cholesterol from the body.
  2. LDL: low-density lipoprotein (aka “bad/lousy” cholesterol). This type of cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in arteries and puts you at greater risk.
  3. VLDL: Very low-density lipoprotein. VLDL promotes plaque buildup.

How to Lower Your Cholesterol

Your diet and other health habits play a role in developing high cholesterol. Making the following lifestyle changes can help you reduce your cholesterol levels:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet
    • Limit your intake of trans and saturated fats. These are found in red meat and dairy. Trans fats are found in cookies, cakes, and processed foods.
    • Choose low-fat dairy products, yogurts, and cheeses. This can help lower your LDL cholesterol.
    • Cooking swaps: cook with vegetable oils such as olive and canola oil. Switch to these options if you’re using butter or lard.
    • Focus on fiber. Fiber can be found in fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains. This can help lower LDL cholesterol.
    • Reading package labels for types of fats and cholesterol content before purchasing food can help you make better choices. Also, eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, can help with lowering cholesterol.
  • Exercise Regularly - Staying active and getting exercise, regularly, can improve your cholesterol numbers by raising your “good cholesterol” levels. Just 30 minutes a day of your favorite exercise activities can make all the difference. However, before you start exercising, be sure to consult with your doctor first.
  • Quit Smoking - Smoking causes damage to the arteries and blood vessels, which increases the risk of plaque build-up as well as reduces the amount of good cholesterol that your blood needs.

What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?

One way to remember the warning signs of a stroke is to know that the symptoms can happen F.A.S.T. Here’s what to look for:

  • Face: drooping on one side of the face (that is hard to move) with a crooked smile.
  • Arms: when both arms are lifted, one will move downwards.
  • Speech: slurred or odd speech.
  • Time: time is of the essence and when you see any of the above symptoms, call 911 immediately.

If you think you or a loved one is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. Do not drive yourself or your loved one to the emergency room. It’s best to allow emergency responders to treat as necessary, since they may be able to perform life-saving treatments en route to the hospital.

Contact Kirby Medical Center

If you are concerned about your risks of having a stroke, contact Kirby Medical Group at 217-762-6241 to learn more about how we can help you with all your healthcare needs.