High cholesterol: Three signs on your skin you have a build up of ‘fatty deposits’
Dr Chris reveals how eyes can indicate high cholesterol levels
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PAD us a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, and may sometimes cause symptoms. The NHS explains that the condition is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits, which are made up of cholesterol and “other waste substances”. The Mayo Clinic says you often can successfully treat peripheral artery disease by exercising, eating a healthy diet and quitting tobacco in any form.
The Mayo Clinic says PAD “is often caused by atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis, fatty deposits build up on your artery walls and reduce blood flow”.
Factors that increase your risk of developing PAD include high cholesterol.
If your peripheral artery disease is caused by a build-up of plaque in your blood vessels, you’re also at risk of stroke and heart attack.
The organisation has explained that there are a number of signs and symptoms that may crop up on your skin.
These include sores on your toes, feet or legs that won’t heal, shiny skin on your legs or hair loss or slower hair growth on your feet and legs.
Other signs include painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs and leg numbness or weakness.
The organisation says that some people experience coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side or notice a change in the colour in their legs.
Other signs include lower growth of your toenails, no pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet, erectile dysfunction in men and pain when using your arms, such as aching and cramping when knitting, writing or doing other manual tasks.
“If peripheral artery disease progresses, pain may even occur when you’re at rest or when you’re lying down. It may be intense enough to disrupt sleep.
“Hanging your legs over the edge of your bed or walking around your room may temporarily relieve the pain,” says The Mayo Clinic.
Despite there being symptoms for PAD, high cholesterol does not tend to cause symptoms, so you should find out if you have it from a blood test.
Fortunately changing what you eat, being more active, and stopping smoking can often help get your cholesterol back to a healthy level.
The health body says most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat. If you’re aged 40 to 74, you can get your cholesterol checked as part of an NHS Health Check.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommends all adults have a cholesterol check at any age, even if they feel completely well. It should be repeated every five years – or more often if the test was abnormal.
The cholesterol blood test measures your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and your total cholesterol to HDL ratio.
Your total cholesterol should be 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults or 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk.
The NHS notes that there are two main types of fat, which are saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.
The NHS says that more than two in five people in England have high cholesterol “which puts them at significant risk of developing heart disease”.
It adds that around 6.5 million adults in England are currently taking lipid-lowering drugs such as statins.
Statins are the most common medicine for high cholesterol, according to the health service, and work by reducing the amount of cholesterol your body makes.
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