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Last Updated on June 16, 2023


 High cholesterol refers to the presence of an excessive amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. It can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries) and stroke. It can also contribute to poor blood flow to the brain, which may result in symptoms like dizziness or lightheadedness. In this case, the dizziness is a result of reduced blood supply and oxygen to the brain. However, high cholesterol itself typically does not cause dizziness directly. Continue reading to know more about high cholesterol, and answer to most frequently asked question, “Can high cholesterol cause headaches?” and how it can be treated.

What is high cholesterol?

High cholesterol refers to elevated levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is essential for various bodily functions, including the production of hormones, cell membranes, and bile acids. However, when there is an excessive buildup of cholesterol in the blood, it can lead to health problems.

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in lipoproteins, which are particles that carry cholesterol and fats. There are two main types of cholesterol-containing lipoproteins:

  1. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol:

LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it tends to deposit cholesterol in the arteries, leading to the formation of plaque. This can narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

  1. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol:

HDL cholesterol is often called “good” cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and carries it back to the liver for disposal. Higher HDL cholesterol levels are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Can high cholesterol cause headaches?

There is no direct evidence to suggest that high cholesterol itself directly causes headaches. However, the consequences of high cholesterol, such as atherosclerosis, can potentially contribute indirectly to headaches.

If the arteries that supply blood to the brain become narrowed or blocked due to atherosclerosis, it can result in reduced blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This can potentially lead to various symptoms, including headaches. However, it’s important to note that headaches can have many other causes unrelated to cholesterol levels.

What other symptoms are caused by high cholesterol?

 High cholesterol usually does not cause any specific symptoms. It is often referred to as a “silent” condition because people can have high cholesterol levels without experiencing noticeable signs or symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to get regular cholesterol screenings as part of preventive healthcare.

However, the consequences of high cholesterol, such as atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries), can lead to symptoms and health problems. These may include:

  1. Chest pain:

If cholesterol plaque builds up in the coronary arteries supplying the heart with blood, it can lead to angina, a condition characterized by chest pain or discomfort.

  1. Shortness of breath:

Reduced blood flow due to narrowed arteries can make it harder for the lungs to receive oxygen, leading to shortness of breath.

  1. Heart attack:

If an artery becomes completely blocked due to a blood clot forming on cholesterol plaque, it can result in a heart attack. Symptoms may include chest pain, pain radiating down the arm or jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea.

  1. Stroke:

When cholesterol plaque or a blood clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the brain, it can cause a stroke. Symptoms can include sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, severe headaches, and loss of balance or coordination.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can be attributed to other health conditions as well, and they may vary depending on the severity and location of the blockage or narrowing of the arteries. If you are experiencing any concerning symptoms regarding can high cholesterol cause headaches? or have risk factors for high cholesterol, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation, a proper diagnosis, and appropriate management.

How can we manage headaches with high cholesterol?

Headaches can have various causes, and while high cholesterol itself is not typically directly associated with headaches, it can contribute to other conditions that may trigger headaches. If you’re experiencing headaches and have high cholesterol, it’s important to seek medical advice from a healthcare provider who can evaluate your symptoms, and conduct appropriate tests to confirm that can high cholesterol cause headaches? And provide personalized recommendations based on your specific situation. Here are some steps you can take to manage headaches and high cholesterol:

Lifestyle changes:

  • Healthy diet: Adopt a diet that is low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
  • Regular exercise: Engage in physical activity on most days of the week. Aim for at least moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
  • Identify headache triggers: Not sure, Can high cholesterol cause headaches?
    Keep a headache diary to track patterns and identify potential triggers. These triggers can vary from person to person but may include stress, lack of sleep, certain foods or beverages, environmental factors, or hormonal changes. Identifying triggers can help you take steps to avoid or manage them.
  • Practice stress management: Stress can contribute to headaches and negatively impact your overall health. Find effective stress management techniques that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies and activities you enjoy.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule: Aim for a consistent sleep routine, ensuring you get enough sleep each night. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can increase the likelihood of headaches.
  • Weight management: Maintain a healthy weight or work towards achieving a healthy weight through a combination of diet and exercise.
  • Quit smoking: If you smoke, quitting can improve your cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.


  • Statins: Statins are commonly prescribed medications that help lower LDL cholesterol levels. They inhibit an enzyme involved in cholesterol production in the liver. Statins also have additional benefits in reducing the risk of cardiovascular events.
  • Other medications: In some cases, other medications such as bile acid sequestrants, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, PCSK9 inhibitors, and fibrates may be prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Over-the-counter pain relief for headaches: Can high cholesterol cause headaches? This is a common concern. If you experience a headache, you can try over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. However, it’s important to use these medications as directed and consult with a healthcare professional if headaches persist or worsen.

Also, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of your headaches and high cholesterol. They can provide accurate diagnoses and recommend appropriate treatment options based on your individual needs.


High cholesterol is caused by an excess of cholesterol in the blood. A person with high cholesterol may not have any symptoms, but it might lead to other diseases that do. Although there is no scientific evidence that can high cholesterol cause headaches? However, cholesterol dizziness, high cholesterol, and lightheadedness are still correlated. Headaches can occur if you have plaque buildup or excessive cholesterol levels, as well as inadequate blood flow in your arteries or, narrowing heart valves, or if you have arrhythmias.

Making lifestyle adjustments, such as frequently exercising, getting proper sleep, and quitting smoking, can all help lower LDL cholesterol levels. If a person has any indications of excessive cholesterol or worries can high cholesterol cause headaches? , they should consult a healthcare professional.

Dr. Anusia Thourani

Dr. Anusia is a Dentist and currently working as a Recruitment Associate at Revive Research Institute. Her cheerful personality and enthusiasm for her work in this organization make her a great part of our team.