Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Cholesterol management health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

What are the symptoms of cholesterol problems?

A high level of cholesterol in the blood doesn't have obvious symptoms, but it can increase your risk for conditions that do have symptoms, including heart disease, stroke and other circulatory problems.

The first most people know about having high cholesterol is when it is picked up during routine blood tests. However, high cholesterol is sometimes called a 'silent killer' as others don’t know about their cholesterol problem until they develop other problems or have a heart attack. Also:

  • Soft, yellowish growths or lesions on the skin called xanthelasma may indicate a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol.
  • Many people who are obese or have diabetes also have high cholesterol.
  • In men, impotence may be due to arteries affected by excessive blood cholesterol.


Just because no ill effects are experienced if a person forgets to take their medication for high cholesterol, that doesn’t mean it is no longer needed.

A survey of heart disease patients by the British Heart Foundation in 2012 found that more than a third of people with high cholesterol fail to take their prescribed medication, increasing the risk of heart problems.

Seek medical advice about heart disease if:

You detect soft, yellowish skin growths on yourself or on your children. Ask about being tested for high cholesterol.

Seek urgent medical advice if:

You develop symptoms of chest pain, pressure, or fullness; dizziness; unsteady gait; slurred speech; or pain in the lower legs especially on exercising.

Any of these conditions may be associated with high cholesterol, and each requires immediate medical intervention.

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on January 22, 2015

Cholesterol newsletter

The latest heart health news and information, delivered to your inbox.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
Put your best face forward
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
woman in bikini
Get ready for swimsuit season
How to help tension headaches
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
bag of crisps
Food cravings that wreck your diet
woman with cucumbers on eyes
How to banish dark circles and bags
probiotic shakes
Help digestion
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting