When to Call a Doctor
High cholesterol usually has no symptoms. Sometimes the first sign that you have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease is a heart attack, a stroke, or a Reference transient ischemic attack (TIA) Opens New Window. If you have any symptoms of these, call 911 or other emergency services.
Heart attack symptoms include:
- Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
- Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
- A fast or irregular heartbeat.
After you call 911 , the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Nitroglycerin. If you typically use nitroglycerin to relieve angina and if one dose of nitroglycerin has not relieved your symptoms within 5 minutes, call 911 . Do not wait to call for help.
Women's symptoms. For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Stroke and TIA symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
- Sudden vision changes.
- Sudden trouble speaking.
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
- Sudden problems with walking or balance.
- A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
Who to see
Any of the following doctors, nurses, or specialists can order a cholesterol test and treat high cholesterol:
- Reference Nurse practitioner (NP) Opens New Window
- Reference Physician assistant (PA) Opens New Window
- Reference Family medicine doctor Opens New Window
- Reference Internal medicine doctor Opens New Window
- Reference Cardiologist Opens New Window
- Reference Endocrinologist Opens New Window
A Reference registered dietitian can help you with a diet to lower your cholesterol.
People who have rare Reference lipid disorders Opens New Window, which can be hard to treat, may need to see a specialist, such as a lipidologist or an endocrinologist.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 29, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology