Most people are aware that high cholesterol is likely to cause a variety of health issues. Cholesterol issues can have consequences for your eyes also.
Included in the list of diseases caused by high cholesterol are:
(imbalance of glucose levels in the bloodstream, can lead to other conditions that can damage the kidneys, nerves and cause blindness)
High blood pressure
(which can then lead to heart attack and stroke)
(chest pain caused by insufficient oxygen supply to the heart from reduced blood flow through the arteries due to plaque buildup)
(commonly referred to as a TIA or “mini stroke“, this is caused from reduced blood flow to the brain because of plaque clogged arteries)
(hardening of the arteries, usually accompanied by the narrowing of the artery as well)
(condition of plaque buildup in the arteries that carry blood to the extremities like your legs, head, arms and also your internal organs, smoking increases your risk of P.A.D by four times)
(high fat diets that generally cause high cholesterol typically lead to obesity as well, obesity is a key factor in many health issues)
Something that most people are not aware of however is that regardless of whether or not you have any of these other cholesterol related health issues, high cholesterol can lead to sudden blindness caused by a condition known as retinal vein occlusion.
is a condition that occurs when plaque buildup closes off the flow of blood to and from the eye via the central retina artery and vein. This affects the optic nerve that connects your eye to your brain; the end result is that you lose your vision.
Actually, your doctor can examine your eyes for indications of high cholesterol by looking for signs of these conditions:
Corneal arcus (Arcus senilis), which is identifiable by a thin white or gray ring around the edge of the cornea, his is actually a deposit of cholesterol in the eye. While this is more common place in older patients, it is rare in younger patients, if found in young patients cholesterol and triglyceride treatments are usually recommended.
Hollenhorst plaque, this is identified by small pieces cholesterol that have broken off from plaque buildup on the wall of a blood vessel that has traveled to the eye. It is possible for these stray pieces of plaque may develop into retinal vein occlusions. If this condition exists it generally indicates a serious cholesterol problem and further testing would be required as a preventative measure.
So how much cholesterol is too much?
Your LDL, considered the “bad” cholesterol, should be lower than 100 mg/dL. If you already a medical condition such as heart disease or high blood pressure, levels under 70 mg/dL would be more appropriate. Your HDL, also known as the “good” cholesterol should be 60 mg/dL or higher, and Triglyceride levels, another type of “bad” fat in your bloodstream, should be lower than 150 mg/dL.
As with anything health related, the key is proper nutrition and exercise. Maintaining a good diet and regular check-ups with your doctor can help ward off future complications.