High cholesterol signs to spot in your hair – worrying loss and going white

Everyone has cholesterol, which is a yellowy-white wax-like lipid (fat) that’s in every cell of your body.

Cholesterol keeps your cells and organs working properly.

It also plays a major role in hormone, vitamin and digestive fluid production.

However, having too much of it can cause worrying health implications.

High cholesterol, which is generally associated with dietary saturated fat, is characterised by the presence of fatty deposits in the arteries that contribute to the formation of plaque.

The silent killer rarely produces blatant symptoms, so it’s imperative to be on the lookout for subtle signs.

A change in your hair could signal too much cholesterol caused by an unhealthy diet.

High cholesterol symptoms in hair

Researchers from John Hopkins conducted research on mice and found the devastating effects a high cholesterol diet has on hair.

In the study, published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, warns that too much cholesterol can cause both hair loss and hair whitening.

The researchers worked with a group of mice further investigating the condition atherosclerosis, whereby fat deposits form inside arteries, obstructing the free flow of blood.

The mice were divided into two groups: one on a regular diet and the other on a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet.

The team found that the mice on the high-fat/high-cholesterol diet began to lose their hair and displayed hair whitening.

At 36 weeks of age, 75% of the mice that had stayed on the high-fat and high-cholesterol diet suffered with severe hair loss.

The study concluded that high cholesterol can significantly affect a person’s hair.

“Our findings show that a Western diet causes hair loss and hair whitening in mice, and we believe a similar process occurs in men who lose hair and experience hair whitening when they eat a diet high in fat and cholesterol,” wrote the researchers.

Dangers of high cholesterol
Heart disease develops when cholesterol builds up in the arteries and blocks blood flow.

It usually presents as angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

Symptoms include:

Pain or discomfort in the chest, arms, or shoulder
Dizziness, light-headedness, weakness, nausea, or cold sweats
Shortness of breath.

Factors increasing your high cholesterol include:

Excessive drinking
Smoking
Inactivity
Insufficient sleep
Too much stress
A diet high in saturated fat
A diet high in trans-fat.
Lower your cholesterol levels
Your diet is one of the best types of medicine to help lower your cholesterol and as such lower your risk of heart disease.

Foods such as fatty cuts of meat, butter, cheese, ice cream, fried foods and baked goods should be kept to a minimum.

“Try to eat more oily fish, brown rice, nuts and seeds and fruit and vegetables,” advises the NHS.

It adds: “Aim to also do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week.”