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
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood that your body needs to build cells and make vitamins and other hormones. Although cholesterol is important, high levels can pose grave health risks because they clog up your arteries. This can result in a complication called peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when plaque such as cholesterol gradually builds up and hardens inside your peripheral arteries leading to your legs, stomach, arms and head.
Unlike high cholesterol, this complication can give rise to a wave of unsettling symptoms.
According to health body Penn Medicine, a “cold feeling” in your foot can signal PAD.
Other symptoms include:
- Cramping in the leg, hip or calf muscles following activities such as climbing stairs.
- Cold feeling in your lower leg or foot
- Leg weakness or numbness
- Sores on your toes, feet or legs that don’t heal well
- Change in skin colour in your legs
- Hair loss or slower hair growth on your legs.
How to reduce your risk
To stave off the threat of high cholesterol complications, it is vital to get tested for high cholesterol.
Since high cholesterol does not cause symptoms, 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 NHS.
There are two ways of having a cholesterol test:
- Taking blood from your arm
- Finger-prick test.
The popular food quadrupling your risk of cancer [ADVICE]
Stomach cancer: The warning sign after eating [INSIGHT]
William Shatner: ‘I thought I was going to die’ [TIPS]
What happens next
If you have high cholesterol, a doctor or nurse will talk to you about how you can lower it.
You can lower high cholesterol levels by overhauling your diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do.
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways.
Harvard Health explains: “Some deliver soluble fibre, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation.
“Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.”
LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that clings to the inside of your arteries, thereby hiking your risk of heart disease.
According to cholesterol charity Heart UK, eating a healthy balance of fats can help to lower your cholesterol levels.
“Too much saturated fat will raise your cholesterol. Cut down on foods high in saturated fat and replace them with foods higher in unsaturated fat,” warns Heart UK.
Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature. Most foods high in saturated fats come from animals, as well as coconut products.
- Dairy foods such as cream, cheese and full fat milk and yoghurt
- Butter and other solid fats such as ghee, lard and hard margarine
- Fatty and processed meats such as sausages and bacon
- Coconut and palm oil.
According to the NHS, you should aim to do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week to lower high cholesterol levels.
Some good things to try when starting out include:
- Walking – try to walk fast enough so your heart starts beating faster
Source: Read Full Article