Understanding the Link: Can High Cholesterol Cause Dizziness?

Understanding the Link: Can High Cholesterol Cause Dizziness?

Can High Cholesterol Cause Dizziness? What to Know

High cholesterol is one of those nasty phrases that we never want to hear from the doctor. The unfortunate truth is that it does happen to many of us. The good news is that there are things you can do to naturally combat high cholesterol. The challenge is determining what caused this and pinpointing that your cholesterol levels are what are causing various symptoms for you as well.

Can high cholesterol cause dizziness? High cholesterol is closely related to many heart conditions, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, and other similar problems. While they say high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, the things that can affect your health do have symptoms so it could easily be a contributor to those headaches you have been battling. Read on to learn more about how high cholesterol can be related to headaches and what you can do about it.

Let’s Talk About Cholesterol

Not all cholesterol is bad. In fact, your body needs cholesterol to distribute certain vitamins and hormones and to help build cells. However, there are different types of cholesterol in our bodies and some of it is more harmful than others. Then, you also have triglycerides, which when combined with LDL cholesterol can really cause you major issues.

Cholesterol isn’t necessarily something you see or feel. It’s all hidden within your body and can only be read through a blood sample or testing. It’s a waxy substance that can build up around your cells or inside of your arteries and that is where the issues sometimes come into play.

Our bodies have what we call good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is LDL or low-density lipoprotein. The good cholesterol is HDL or high-density lipoprotein. Most of the excess cholesterol we have in our bodies comes from animal products, especially any meat or dairy product that is higher in fat content. We mention triglycerides too because they can also cause your body to have high cholesterol due to high fat content.

Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health

What we know is that high cholesterol won’t be the sole problem for your dizziness. If you are experiencing dizziness, it is likely related to another disorder or health issue. However, cholesterol might be the underlying cause of that particular health issue. Cardiovascular health and cholesterol are tied very closely together. If you have high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, your body is at significant risk of heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and similar problems.

LDL cholesterol levels don’t mess around and they cause plaque buildup around your arteries that make it much more difficult for your heart, arteries, and blood vessels to do their jobs. As the buildup increases, you can experience a host of problems as well as the symptoms related to those problems.

The most common associated health issue with high cholesterol levels is a disorder known as atherosclerosis. This term just refers to the buildup of plaque that we described earlier. When plaque builds up in that manner, blood flow becomes restricted. It struggles more to reach your heart, your brain, and your other organs. This is where the increased risk of heart conditions comes into play.

Does High Cholesterol Cause Dizziness: What is the Connection?

High cholesterol by itself is not your source of dizziness. That being said, the health conditions that high cholesterol contributes to can cause dizziness. Dizziness has been associated with heart health for a very long time. People with high blood pressure or heart-related conditions may experience dizziness as a side effect. The dizziness in these cases comes from the lack of blood flow where it needs to go.

There are constantly new studies emerging that pinpoint additional data as well. One of the more recent discoveries is that high cholesterol can affect the inner ear as well as the vestibular system. The vestibular system, including your inner ear, is responsible for helping you maintain balance and respond to forces around you. When your vestibular system is affected, it is incredibly common to experience issues with balance, vertigo, and dizziness. There is notably a direct correlation between the two.

Does this mean every time you feel dizzy it’s a sign you have high cholesterol? Not necessarily. There are actually a lot of health issues that can cause dizziness. Here are a few:

  • Migraines
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Motion sickness
  • Anemia
  • Inner ear problems
  • Blood circulatory problems
  • Medication
  • Neurological disorders
  • Low blood sugar
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

These are just a few relatable things that could cause dizziness. Some of them have nothing to do with high cholesterol. However, it should be noted that high cholesterol could be the cause of a few of these, particularly inner ear problems, blood circulatory problems, and blood pressure. With all that in mind, there can easily be a connection between high cholesterol and the dizziness you have been experiencing. It is not the direct cause but rather an indirect factor related to an underlying condition.


An older woman exercising inside


Relating High Cholesterol to Dizziness

Where do the connections come in? We’re glad you asked! We know that high cholesterol can be tied to conditions that lead to dizziness so let’s connect the dots.

  • Reduced blood blow
  • Microvascular damage
  • Oxidative stress

Reduced Blood Flow

The most significant issue that high cholesterol can cause and relate to your dizziness is reduced blood flow. The plaque buildup that high cholesterol causes will decrease your natural blood flow, causing other possible issues. This atherosclerosis will narrow your blood vessels making it harder for blood to get where it needs to be. The side effects of reduced blood flow are blood pressure, cardiovascular health, and effects on your inner ear or vestibular system.

Each of these health conditions can cause dizziness and often are a significant factor in dizziness. If the blood cannot flow how it needs to, you suffer the side effects in many medical conditions and this can be very dangerous for your heart health.

Microvascular Damage

The next is microvascular damage, which relates to your inner ear. Reduced blood flow affects your inner ear area more than any other part of your body. While restricted blood flow affects many parts of your health, the ties to the inner ear are significant. Also, the connection between the inner ear and issues with vertigo and dizziness are closely related.

Your inner ear is a delicate structure. When reduced blood flow causes microvascular damage, it affects your sensory abilities. The results of this disruption and damage include dizziness and other potential side effects.

Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is another big one and a challenge that a lot of people unknowingly face. High levels of oxidative stress are caused by too many free radicals in your system and not enough antioxidants to fight them. High oxidative stress can lead to organ damage, inflammation, and impaired heart and blood vessel health as well.

The connection is that high cholesterol often causes more oxidative stress and inflammation within your body, which then leads to health issues that cause dizziness and other effects. High oxidative stress, especially from high cholesterol, may damage your blood vessels or your vascular function as a whole, leading to things like coronary artery disease or blood clots. 

This is another factor that can decrease blood flow and will affect your health as a whole. Once again, blood cannot flow to your inner ear, and it’s decreased in other places too. Oxidative stress can cause heart conditions, blood pressure issues, and more. Dizziness is often a common side effect of each of these.

Learning to Manage High Cholesterol Levels

We all know that high cholesterol is a bad thing, especially when it’s the LDL version. But many of us simply don’t know what to do about it or how to manage our levels. The good news is that you can often make lifestyle changes that will help to manage cholesterol levels and prevent side effects like dizziness in doing so. Learning how to be proactive is a huge help. 

There are cholesterol medications that your doctor can give you, and you may need to consider those. There are also many natural methods you can use to help regulate and potentially decrease medication that is necessary as well.

  • Follow a heart-healthy diet
  • Natural health health supplementation
  • Incorporate regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit or reduce smoking and drinking
  • Learn to manage stress
  • Track and monitor cholesterol levels

Much like any other aspect of your health, a healthy diet and regular exercise will go a long way. These things help to reduce the excess fat that stores up and leads to high levels of cholesterol. For the purpose of cholesterol, following a heart healthy diet is recommended. That means finding balance with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. Try to reduce your intake of fatty proteins as well as other saturated and trans fats. These are often the foods that contribute the most to high cholesterol. Some other foods to avoid would be excessively processed foods and full-fat dairy products too.

You don’t have to go all out on physical activity, the key is to just get active and be more active. If you are already exercising regularly, that’s awesome! If not, try to get about 30 minutes of exercise several days a week. Even if you are just taking walks, this is moving your body and it’s so good for you! Changing your diet and exercise habits will go a long way to maintaining a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will also benefit your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the process.

Smoking and drinking excessively are simply hard on our bodies. Smoking in particular often leads to a buildup of plaque because of the ingredients that you are inhaling into your body. The same is true of vaping. Ideally, if you can quit smoking, that is the best plan. If you can’t or won’t, at least make efforts to significantly reduce. As far as drinking, just work not to overconsume.

A group of people working out in the gym


Final Thoughts

Working to protect your health can help fight high cholesterol. In answer to the question can high cholesterol cause dizziness, it’s a multi-part answer. While high cholesterol alone will not cause dizziness, it commonly causes other health issues that will cause your dizziness. Prioritize your health and work to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level. Check out our wide array of heart healthy supplements today!

The information being presented in this blog is intended to be used as educational or resource information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your healthcare provider. This content should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider. You should call 911 for all medical emergencies. Revive MD is not liable for any advice or information provided on this blog, which advice or information is provided on an “as-is” basis, and assumes no liability for diagnosis, treatment, decisions, or actions made in reliance upon any advice or information contained on this blog. No warranties, express or implied, are made on the information that is provided.

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