Cholesterol is essentially not bad. In fact, the body needs it to function. However, persistently high cholesterol levels can cause serious complications, some of which show sinister symptoms. The most obvious signs of high cholesterol follow peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in which a buildup of fatty deposits from cholesterol and other waste products clogs your arteries and restricts the blood supply to your leg muscles.
Dr. Sami Firuzi warned, “Although PAD does not pose a direct threat to life, the process of atherosclerosis that causes it can sometimes lead to serious and fatal problems, such as critical limb ischemia that occurs if blood flow becomes to The legs are tightly bound.” Consultant Cardiologist at Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UK.
An obvious sign of this complication is the presence of “smelly pus” on your toes and lower extremities.
Dr. Firuzi explained, “The skin on your toes or lower limbs becomes cold and numb, turns red and then black, and/or begins to swell and produce foul-smelling pus, causing excruciating pain (gangrene).”
Other severe warning signs include:
- Severe burning pain in your legs and feet that persists even while at rest
- Your skin becomes pale, shiny, smooth and dry
- Wounds and sores (open sores) that don’t heal on the feet and legs
- Loss of muscle mass in your legs.
Read more: High Cholesterol: The ‘Feeling’ in Your Feet That Can Indicate High Cholesterol Levels
“Your GP may refer you for a blood test to check your cholesterol levels if you feel you are at risk – it will depend on your age, weight, smoking status, if you have diabetes, or whether there is a family history of high cholesterol,” Dr. Ferozi explained. or heart problems.
The blood test will show the total cholesterol in the blood, including the levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is often described as the “good” cholesterol because it picks up low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – the “bad” kind – and transports it to the liver, where it is eliminated.
“You may also be screened for high cholesterol if you have heart disease such as coronary artery disease or a history of stroke,” Dr. Ferozi said.
How to lower high cholesterol
“High cholesterol can often be lowered by eating healthy and making lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, reducing alcohol and stopping smoking,” the doctor said.
What is considered healthy food?
There are many foods that are not only part of a healthy diet, but can actively help lower blood cholesterol as well.
According to cholesterol charity Heart UK, cutting back on saturated fats and replacing some of them with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower blood cholesterol.
Trans fats are found in processed and fatty meats such as sausage, ham, burgers, and bacon.
Instead, you should opt for the unsaturated fats found in:
- Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, walnut and seed oils
- Avocados, nuts and seeds
- Spreadable fats made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil and olive oil
- oily fish;
According to the cholesterol charity Heart UK, oily fish is a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats.
“Eat two servings of fish per week, at least one of which should be fatty,” advises Heart UK.
“Avoid coconut and palm oil because, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat,” the charity adds.