High cholesterol: The sign on your eyes, palms, or lower legs ‘you have unhealthy levels’
High cholesterol is often the precursor for serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, which means it is important to spot the warning signs. Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver that brings many important health benefits, such as making hormones and building cell membranes. High cholesterol means you have too much of the “bad” cholesterol. This is known as LDL cholesterol.
As high cholesterol levels tend not to cause any symptoms and in most cases only cause emergency events, it is important to get yours checked.
You can find out if you have high cholesterol through a blood test.
The NHS says it is mainly caused by “eating fatty food, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol”, though it can also run in families.
The more risk factors you have and the more severe they are, the higher the risk is to your overall risk.
If you are over 40, you may have a test during your NHS Health Check. This is a check-up that can help spot early signs of problems like heart disease and diabetes.
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The American Academy of Dermatology Association says that yellowish-orange, waxy growths on your skin, may mean that you have “unhealthy cholesterol levels”.
It states: “If you see yellowish-orange growths on your skin, you may have deposits of cholesterol under your skin.
“These painless deposits can appear in many areas, including the corners of your eyes, lines on your palms, or the backs of your lower legs.”
It suggests that if you notice these growths on any area of your skin, you should see your doctor.
It says: “Getting your cholesterol levels under control may also help clear the growths on your skin.”
You may be able to make lifestyle changes to help lower high levels, and reduce your risk of serious complications.
However, Heart UK says: “Anyone can have high cholesterol – even if you are young, slim, eat well and exercise.
“That’s because high cholesterol can be caused by different things. It can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, but it can be genetic too.”
Having too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels. It makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke.
“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” Heart UK adds.
It says that you should aim to do at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, and smoking can raise your cholesterol and make you more likely to have serious problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
Statins are the most common medicine for high cholesterol.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says: “If your cholesterol is very high and if lifestyle changes are not enough, your doctor might suggest controlling it with medication.” Statins are the main type of medicine used to reduce cholesterol.
To stave off the risks posed by high cholesterol, it is vital that you intervene early in its development.
Heart UK says to opt for unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils, avocado, nuts and seeds.
“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats,” notes the charity.
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