High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol, which is produced by your liver, is essential in the production of healthy cells, vitamin D and certain hormones. However, as Doctor Brian Clapp, Consultant Cardiologist for The Cardiac Clinic at London Bridge Hospital (part of HCA UK), explained, if you have too much “bad cholesterol” in your blood it can hike your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
LDL has earned this infamous title because it can build up in your arteries, choking the blood supply to vital organs.
Partly what makes high cholesterol so deadly is that it does not usually present any symptoms.
However, extremely high levels can occasionally give rise to lesions on the skin called xanthomas, warned Doctor Clapp.
“These skin blemishes are caused by the accumulation of cholesterol and fat particles in skin cells and often occur around the eyes and can be itchy or tender to touch,” he explained.
According to Doctor Clapp, these can appear as single small lumps or in clusters and can vary in size and colour.
“These lumps and bumps may develop in other areas such as your knuckles, elbows or knees or cause swollen and painful Achilles’ tendons,” he warned.
What’s more, “these xanthomas and other signs such as discoloration of your cornea, creating a pale grey or white ring around your iris, could be signs of familial hypercholesterolaemia”, explained Doctor Clapp.
This is a genetic condition whereby your LDL levels are extremely high from birth.
High cholesterol: Specific type of pain is a sign [TIPS]
Rob Mallard health: Corrie star’s hidden health condition [INSIGHT]
Diabetes type 2 symptoms: Four sensations in the feet [ADVICE]
“People who have familial hypercholesterolaemia face a higher risk of heart disease due to the amount of time they have had high levels of LDL compared to someone who develops high cholesterol later on in life,” explained Doctor Clapp.
“Even without symptoms it is important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly by your GP to ensure they are healthy,” advised Doctor Clapp.
According to the NHS, you can only find out if you have it from a blood test.
“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the health body.
“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”
How to respond
Doctor Clapp said: “For everyone there are sensible lifestyle measures that should be undertaken, including regular exercise and a low fat diet, to reduce the risk of developing arterial disease.”
The key to a low fat diet is shunning foods high in saturated fats.
Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), eating a diet high in saturated fat is associated with raised levels of LDL cholesterol.
“But just replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates, like sugary foods and drinks, won’t improve your health,” notes the BHF.
The health body continues: “Replacing it with unsaturated fats such as oily fish, nuts, or vegetable oils like rapeseed or sunflower oil, does seem to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.”
“Remember, though, all types of fat are high in calories, so eating too much can lead to weight gain,” it adds.
Source: Read Full Article