Having too much cholesterol in the blood is not a disease itself but can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries. High cholesterol can be caused by hereditary factors, poor diet and is seen in connection with other diseases such as kidney disease, alcohol abuse and diabetes.
You cannot tell if you have high levels of cholesterol in your blood, but a high level, in conjunction with other adverse factors, increases the risk of developing narrowing of the arteries (Atherosclerosis) leading to cardiovascular disease; the symptoms of which depend on the degree of narrowing and the organ supplied by the affected arteries.
In the brain, a cerebral (brain) artery might become blocked with clotted blood or a vessel may haemorrhage, both of which will result in a stroke.
In the heart, narrowed arteries may cause angina or rupture to cause a heart attack.
Leg pain on exertion can be experienced due to narrowing of the arteries that supply the lower limbs. If a major vessel to a lower limb suddenly blocks, it can be life threatening.
Diagnosis of high cholesterol is made by taking a blood sample. If you are worried about high cholesterol levels, you should talk to your GP about a cholesterol test.