Individuals with high cholesterol do not experience any direct symptoms; thus, a blood test is necessary to determine cholesterol levels, according to Healthline. In most cases, people with high cholesterol only suffer symptoms during the occurrence of severe conditions, such as a stroke or heart attack, which result from long-term damage related to high cholesterol.
Life-threatening conditions associated with high cholesterol occur when excessive cholesterol causes plaque to form in the arteries, thus narrowing the arteries and reducing the amount of blood delivered to vital parts of the body, explains Healthline. Plaque buildup eventually leads to severe complications.
A total blood cholesterol level higher than 240 milligrams per deciliter indicates high cholesterol, states Healthline. In rare cases, individuals with familial syndromes and very high cholesterol levels of 300 milligrams per deciliter or above display symptoms resulting from cholesterol deposits above their tendons or beneath their eyelids.
Common symptoms of coronary artery disease, which is a complication of high cholesterol, include chest pain, panting, nausea and fatigue, notes Healthline. Plaque accumulation can obstruct blood supply to the brain, leading to stroke. Symptoms of this medical emergency include failure to move one side of the body, facial changes, dizziness and balance problems. Stroke requires immediate medical treatment, as it can lead to the rapid death of brain tissue due to lack of oxygen from the blood.