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Can high cholesterol cause headaches?

Can High Cholesterol Cause Headaches?

Nobody likes having headaches, and if you happen to suffer from them, you want to find out how to stop them right away. The first step in that process is to determine what’s causing your headaches. Is it high cholesterol? Can high cholesterol even cause headaches?


This is the question the EVOHealth team is going to answer today. As functional medicine doctors, our entire focus is getting to the root cause of conditions. Whether or not your headaches are caused by high cholesterol, we can help you reverse chronic pain and other imbalances in the body.


But for now, let’s explore the possible causal connection between high cholesterol and headaches.


Cholesterol and Narrow Arteries

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood that plays a vital role in several bodily functions. However, elevated levels of cholesterol can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular diseases. When most people think of high cholesterol, that’s where their minds go – cardiovascular disease. So, while some evidence suggests a causal link between high cholesterol and headaches, the relationship is complex and not yet fully understood. Headaches are usually a secondary symptom of high cholesterol, not a direct consequence.


To understand the potential connection between high cholesterol and headaches, it’s important to examine the factors involved. High cholesterol typically refers to elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of arteries, forming plaques that can restrict blood flow. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke.


Research has indicated that atherosclerosis may contribute to the development of certain types of headaches. When the blood vessels in the brain become narrowed or blocked due to plaque buildup, it can affect the circulation and oxygen supply to the brain, potentially triggering headaches. These headaches are often described as pulsating and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, or difficulty concentrating.


Cholesterol and Inflammation

Another possible mechanism linking high cholesterol and causes of headaches is inflammation. Elevated cholesterol levels can lead to systemic inflammation, which is associated with various health conditions. Inflammation can affect the blood vessels, potentially causing changes in their structure and function. These changes may contribute to the development of migraines, a specific type of headache characterized by severe throbbing pain, often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances.


Other Causes of Headaches

Again, while some evidence supports an association between high cholesterol and headaches, it is important to note that numerous factors can cause headaches, and high cholesterol is unlikely to be the sole or primary factor. If you come to EVOHealth with questions about headaches, we will want to test for other root causes besides just high cholesterol.


Factors such as stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, dehydration, gut issues, and underlying medical conditions can also contribute to the occurrence of headaches. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the comprehensive health profile of an individual when evaluating the potential role of high cholesterol in their headaches.


Functional Medicine Can Help You Manage Cholesterol and Headaches

Your high cholesterol and headaches might have a causal relationship, or they might just be correlated. You might even have high cholesterol and no headaches or frequent headaches but normal cholesterol levels. No matter your symptoms, functional medicine can help.


Managing cholesterol levels is important not only for cardiovascular health but also for overall well-being. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco use can help in managing cholesterol levels. In some cases, medications such as statins may be recommended to lower cholesterol levels when lifestyle changes alone are insufficient.


If you frequently experience headaches, you may need to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. The causes of headaches are notoriously difficult to pin down. Headaches might be caused by something as simple as a scented candle, or perhaps a serious thyroid condition. The EVOHealth team can help you identify the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan. If we find that high cholesterol is causing your headaches, addressing it through lifestyle changes or medication may help alleviate your symptoms.


A Short Summary of High Cholesterol and Headaches

As noted earlier, while there is evidence to suggest a causal link between high cholesterol and headaches, the relationship is complex and not yet fully understood. Atherosclerosis and inflammation, both associated with high cholesterol, may play a role in certain types of headaches. However, headaches can have multiple causes, and high cholesterol may not be the sole determinant.


If you experience frequent headaches, reach out to EVOHealth for testing and a personalized treatment plan. Our convenient online care means you can tackle your headaches from anywhere in Kansas or beyond. Don’t settle for simply managing your pain. Functional medicine can address the root cause of whatever you’re experiencing so that you can achieve true, lasting health.


Get started today!


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