High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a well-known precursor of heart attack because it causes the arteries to narrow over time, preventing nutrient-rich blood from reaching the heart. Unfortunately, signs of this trouble are rarely announced before a severe diagnosis is made. When warning signs do arise, however, they typically occur in the legs or chest. One complication in the upper legs and groin should never be ignored.
There is a host of complications to expect from leaving high cholesterol unmanaged, and many of these are concentrated in the legs.
The legs require higher volumes of oxygen due to physical exertion, which is why the limbs are some of the first to hint at a blockage.
Signs of a blockage typically include paleness, numbness or cold legs and feet.
But sometimes, plaque can build up to the point where the arteries become semi-blocked, causing more severe symptoms.
The healthcare body CardioSmart explains: “It’s not until there may be a large blockage of the artery that you might notice something is wrong.”
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“Unfortunately, this blockage can rupture and cause massive problems, even when they are much smaller and without causing any early symptoms.”
Low-density-lipoprotein (LDL), dubbed “bad” cholesterol because it sticks to the walls of the arteries, causes irritations and swelling of the walls.
This can reduce or block blood flow through the peripheral arteries, which can lead to retention of fluid in the legs, ankles, feet and even sometimes in the arms and hands.
This swelling occurs when fluid excretes from small blood vessels into nearby tissue, making it swell.
Much of the swelling associated with high cholesterol is caused by atherosclerosis, which thwarts the kidney’s ability to properly filter out blood.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association explains: “Many diseases of the heart cause fluid to build up in your feet and lower legs.
“As the fluid builds up, you may see swelling which can extend as far as the upper legs and groin.”
How to lower high cholesterol
Diet is the mainstay of cholesterol treatment, with foods high in soluble fibre widely recommended.
Soluble fibre is beneficial because it binds to LDL cholesterol molecules in the digestive tract and drags them out of the body.
Other foods, such as plant sterols, nuts and soy proteins thwart prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Certain fats are also safe to consume for high cholesterol, notably monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Harvard Health explains: “A largely vegetarian dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides and blood pressure.
“The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains interred of highly refined ones and protein mostly from plants.
Exercise also has its benefits for cholesterol, as it raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, which helps rid the body of “bad” cholesterol.
Exercising for a duration of 30 minutes five times a week is deemed most beneficial.
What’s more, going for a brisk walk or a jog can effectively lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
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