High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is very common, but it’s not always easy to know if you’re at risk. Symptoms rarely reveal themselves, but it’s still crucial to get high cholesterol diagnosed early, as it can lead to some deadly consequences.
Cholesterol is a type of waxy substance that’s found in the blood.
It’s used by the body to manufacture new cells – but there can be too much of a good thing.
Large amounts of cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in the blood vessels.
As these deposits continue to grow, it can make blood flow increasingly difficult, sparking the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
If it’s left undiagnosed, high cholesterol can also lead to coronary heart disease, artery disease, and even sudden cardiac arrest.
While it’s difficult to know if you’re at risk, there are still some hidden signs to look out for.
Some patients may develop a type of lesion on their skin, which is synonymous with high cholesterol.
These bumps, which are also known as xanthomas, often appear quite waxy, and they might be a yellow/orange colour.
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Xanthomas are usually a sign that there’s been an increase in blood lipids.
But, it usually only develops in patients that have a family history of high cholesterol, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH).
“High ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol usually does not cause symptoms, so most people do not know they have it until they are tested during a routine doctor’s visit,” it said.
“Very high levels may cause symptoms such as fatty bumps on your skin, called xanthomas, or greyish-white rings around the corneas in your eye, called corneal arcus.
“Xanthoma is a skin condition in which certain fats build up under the surface of the skin.
“Xanthomas vary in size. Some are very small. Others are bigger than 3 inches [7.5 centimetres] in diameter. They may appear anywhere on the body.”
They can appear anywhere on the body, but they’re most likely to develop on the elbows, joints, knees, hands, feet, or buttocks, it added.
But, xanthomas could also be caused by diabetes, certain cancers, liver scarring, and an underactive thyroid.
Managing your cholesterol levels could help to prevent these xanthomas from ever developing.
Cutting back on fatty foods is the easiest way to lower your cholesterol.
Instead, try to eat more oily fish, brown rice, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables.
Doing more exercise will also help to protect against high cholesterol.
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