Dr Chris reveals how eyes can indicate high cholesterol levels
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This startling sign could be indicative of “skyrocketing cholesterol”, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) warned. The skin lesions could pop up and look like warts or a rash. “These bumps are actually fatty deposits of cholesterol caused by extremely high levels of triglycerides (type of cholesterol) in the blood,” the ADD explained. The medical name for the condition is eruptive xanthoma as the lesions appear “suddenly”.
Treatment, however, is “essential”, so do book an appointment with your doctor if you notice eruptive xanthoma.
The cholesterol charity Heart UK explained that triglycerides – a type of blood fat – is meant to be our main source of energy.
Triglycerides are a combination of three fatty acids – unsaturated fat, saturated fat, and glycerol – a form of glucose.
These fats come from the diet and from the liver, as they are important for everyday living.
However, if you have too much in the blood, you’re at increased risk of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
Foods that contain triglycerides:
- Cooking oils.
Such foods, when absorbed by the intestines, are packaged into parcels of fats and proteins called chylomicrons.
Chylomicrons – a type of lipoprotein – carries the fat in the bloodstream to tissues that can use it as energy, or it’s stored away.
Experts at Heart UK stated that people should aim for a non-fasting triglyceride level below 2.3mmol/L, which can be determined by a blood test.
Raised triglycerides can be influenced by a sedentary lifestyle, an unhealthy diet – particularly one that is high in added sugars and saturated fats – and alcohol.
“Some people may be very sensitive even to small amounts of alcohol, and these can significantly raise their triglyceride levels,” Heart UK pointed out.
Medical conditions that could hike triglyceride levels include:
- Kidney disease
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- An under-active thyroid.
The best way to check your cholesterol levels, before more telling signs appear on the skin, is to get your bloods checked by a medical professional.
People aged 40 and over are able to get a free NHS Health Check that will reveal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
If, however, you are under 40, if high cholesterol runs in your family, you can be tested sooner.
Moreover, people who are curious can get their cholesterol levels checked by paying for a health check-up at some pharmacies.
If high cholesterol is established, and you want to lower the amount of fat in your blood, “diet and lifestyle changes are the cornerstones of treatment”.
Healthy lifestyle measures will include regular bouts of exercise, aiming for 150 minutes each week, and losing weight if needs be.
A healthy diet is also paramount in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can be achieved by cutting down on sugary foods and drinks.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, for people with high cholesterol, abstinence would be really beneficial.
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