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3 signs in your feet that show you could have dangerous high cholesterol

today26 June 2022

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Unless action is taken, high cholesterol can lead to a number of health issues and could eventually result in a stroke or even a heart attack. Bad cholesterol, known as LDL cholesterol, is normally caused by consuming too many foods high in fat, drinking alcohol and not exercising, the NHS says.

There are a number of ways to identify high cholesterol levels and there are warning signs that show in your feet, according to the Daily Record. These symptoms in particular may help you identify peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition caused by a build-up of fatty deposits inside your arteries that often concentrate in the feet.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains: “When the blood flow becomes worse, the body can’t deliver enough blood, nutrients and oxygen to the skin and soft tissues.

“This usually occurs in the feet, as they are furthest from the heart.”

Signs include:

  • Pain

  • Ulcers

  • Gangrene.

According to the BHF, this is known as critical limb ischaemia, and rapid treatment is essential to have a chance of saving the leg.

Other symptoms of PAD can include:

  • Hair loss on your legs and feet

  • Numbness or weakness in the legs

  • Brittle, slow-growing toenails

  • Ulcers (open sores) on your feet and legs, which do not heal

  • Changing skin colour on your legs, such as turning pale or blue

  • Shiny skin

  • In men, erectile dysfunction

  • The muscles in your legs shrinking (wasting).

How to reduce your risk

Keeping high cholesterol levels at bay is the best buffer against PAD and other cholesterol-related complications, such as heart attack. Initially, the most important tip is to get a formal diagnosis of high cholesterol.

The general lack of symptoms means a blood test is the most reliable way of determining whether you have high cholesterol. According to the NHS, your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high.

There are two ways of having a cholesterol test:

  • Taking blood from your arm

  • Finger-prick test.

If you have high cholesterol, a doctor or nurse will talk to you about how you can lower it. This might include things like changing your diet or taking medicine. Overhauling your diet is usually the most effective way to reduce high cholesterol levels.

Central to this effort is to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats, says cholesterol charity Heart UK. Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.

Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature, include oils from vegetables, nuts and seeds, such as sunflower. Exercise is also key to cholesterol control and keeping your heart healthy.

According to UK health guidelines, adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of intense activity every week. If you can do more that’s even better. Moderate intensity activity means you get your heart rate up and you’re breathing harder, but you shouldn’t be out of breath.

One way of reaching 150 minutes a week is by being active for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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