WebMD and the Mayo Clinic both report that high cholesterol does not produce any symptoms. In fact, doctors can only identify high cholesterol with a blood test. High cholesterol occurs for a number of reasons, such as poor dietary habits and heredity, but cholesterol levels can return to normal through healthy eating, regular exercise and doctor-prescribed medications.
WebMD explains that cholesterol attaches to proteins and creates one of three lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, builds up on artery walls and makes them hard, narrow and difficult for blood to pass through. VLDL has the most triglycerides and makes LDL cholesterol even larger in the blood vessels. HDL, or good cholesterol, gathers excess cholesterol and returns it to the liver.
The human body creates and needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. Therefore, even if people stop eating foods that contain cholesterol, they can still suffer from high cholesterol because of a genetic condition. For example, cells may not efficiently remove LDL cholesterol from the blood or may cause the liver to create excessive cholesterol. While high cholesterol has no symptoms, the Mayo Clinic explains that it can cause serious complications over time, such as chest pains, heart attacks and strokes.