Does High Cholesterol Cause Headaches?

can high cholesterol cause heart attack

Having headaches occasionally is normal but recurrent headaches could be indicative of an underlying health issue. Among a range of potential causes, one lingering notion is that high cholesterol might be the culprit. So, does high cholesterol cause headaches or it is just a myth? Let’s shed some light on the connection between the two.

Good cholesterol vs bad cholesterol

Before discovering ‘Does high cholesterol cause headaches?’, let’s understand the difference between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol.

Every cell of the body contains a fatty substance termed cholesterol. LDL (low-density lipoprotein and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) transport cholesterol through the blood. While more HDL cholesterol ensures our well-being, more LDL cholesterol leads to myriad health complications.

If there’s excess LDL cholesterol in your blood, your cholesterol levels become high. Then the cholesterol will accumulate in the blood vessels and arteries, forming plaques that obstruct blood flow.

Plaques can amplify the risks of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes. But does high cholesterol cause headaches as well? Scroll down to find out what healthcare professionals have to say about it.

The link between headaches and high cholesterol

Some people having high cholesterol suffer from persistent headaches. So, it is natural to wonder if lowering the cholesterol levels will give relief from the headaches.

There is no evidence that can prove a strong correlation between headaches and high cholesterol. While a person with high cholesterol may experience frequent headaches, this does not imply that cholesterol levels are the cause.

Headaches are multifactorial and incredibly complex. For instance, not drinking enough water or staring at the screen for hours can be why your head hurts. From lifestyle choices to genetics – there can be many reasons why the irritating headaches keep returning.

Indirect influences

Usually, cholesterol levels don’t play a role in triggering headaches. However, there can be indirect links between these two health conditions. That’s because a lot of factors accountable for spiking cholesterol levels can also give headaches. These include lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, diabetes, obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, and stress.

So, for example, experiencing headaches is not unusual if overconsumption of sugar is why your cholesterol is high. When you have foods loaded with sugar, your blood sugar level suddenly rises, and this can give you a sharp headache.

Headache is also a side effect of consuming too much alcohol as alcohol leaves the body dehydrated. So, if an individual with high cholesterol drinks liquor regularly, then liquor consumption is the cause of headaches, not high cholesterol.

Studies have revealed that there are other indirect influences that may contribute to the occurrence of headaches. One of them is the fact that with high cholesterol, the risk of vascular health issues doubles. By restricting blood flow to different body parts, high cholesterol is responsible for plaque formation in the bloodstream.

When the blood flow to the brain is limited due to the presence of excess LDL in the blood, you may have to deal with headaches. You should know that other than headaches, the lack of blood flow to your brain can cause more problems. The cholesterol levels are found to be high in most people who have strokes. Stroke-related headaches are of moderate or mild severity.

Migraine headaches and high cholesterol

Research has found that there can be an association between migraine headaches and cholesterol levels. A 2015 study reported that people with frequent and intense migraines have alarmingly high levels of bad cholesterol. After the people involved in the study received treatment for three months, their migraines and LDL levels reduced.

However, you cannot derive any conclusions from this data as only 52 people participated in this study.

Headaches for taking cholesterol medications

Did you know that the medications you take for regulating cholesterol levels can also give you headaches? A study conducted on some people who take medications dedicatedly to regulate cholesterol levels revealed the same. However, this varies from one person to another.

So, if you feel that you’re having severe headaches after you begon taking cholesterol medications, consult your healthcare provider. They will prescribe alternate medications or change the dosage of the one you’re taking.

Does high cholesterol cause high blood pressure?

As mentioned already, high cholesterol is harmful to your body and several health complications can arise. Cholesterol plaque makes the arteries narrow and hard. So, the heart must work harder and as an outcome, the blood pressure rises.

Also, can high blood pressure cause headaches? While some people with high BP complain of throbbing pain in their temples, others feel a dull ache around their eyes.

Can high cholesterol cause heart attack?

Does your total cholesterol level exceed 240 mg/dL? Then you can be at a high risk for suffering from heart disease. But how you do know your HDL levels are low and LDL levels are high?

Most people do not notice any symptoms despite having high cholesterol. So, there are chances that it is left untreated, and this can lead to stroke or heart attack. Therefore, knowing your cholesterol levels should be a part of your annual health check-ups. Your aim should be to keep the HDL level above 40 mg/dL and the LDL level below 160 mg/dL.

Final Thoughts

Therefore, does high cholesterol cause headaches? After reading this article, the answer should be clear to you.

In conclusion, making some lifestyle alterations will help you keep headaches at bay and lower cholesterol levels naturally. According to doctors, regular exercise, quitting smoking, having alcohol in moderation, and healthy eating will magically improve your health. Additionally, take less stress, sleep well at night, exercise, and stay hydrated to treat headaches and decrease LDL cholesterol.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can high cholesterol affect the brain?

If someone’s bad cholesterol levels are high, amyloid plaque can deposit in the brain. Doctors have identified this as a prime cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

2. What hurts when you have high cholesterol?

The accumulation of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries decreases the blood circulation in the arteries. So, chest pain is a common side effect of excessively high levels of bad cholesterol.

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