Facts about Inherited high cholesterol
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What this means is that while high cholesterol on its own does not cause symptoms, it can cause complications that themselves have symptoms.
This includes peripheral arterial disease.
The NHS describes the condition as occurring “where a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply to leg muscles”.
The condition is also known as peripheral vascular disease.
One of the main symptoms of peripheral arterial disease, or PAD for short, is leg pain.
The University of Michigan Cardiovascular Centre says the pain that can be “persistent or intermittent”.
Other symptoms of PAD include:
• Numbness or loss of sensation in the affected limb
• Sores that heal slowly or fail to heal
• Differences between limbs in relation to colour and/or warmth
• Decreased rate of hair and nail growth on the impacted limb
• Foot pain at rest.
The health body added: “While peripheral arterial disease is not life threatening, it can affect quality of life, and can be a red-flag warning of more serious conditions, including heart disease.
“If not properly managed, PAD can lead to heart attack or stroke.”
When to see a GP
On this, the NHS says: “You should see a GP if you experience recurring leg pain when exercising.
“Many people mistakenly think this is just part of growing older, but there’s no reason why an otherwise healthy person should experience leg pain.
“PAD is usually diagnosed through a physical examination by a GP, and by comparing the blood pressure in your arm and your ankle.
“A difference between the 2 may indicate PAD and is called the ankle brachial pressure index (ABPI).”
How PAD is treated
PAD is normally treated through a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
The two main changes are exercising more regularly and quitting smoking.
Furthermore, it is also recommended by health bodies that the underlying causes of PAD should also be treated.
The NHS say: “With treatment, most people’s symptoms remain stable and some people may experience an improvement in their pain. If treatment is unsuccessful, there’s a risk of potentially serious complications.”
Are there any complications from PAD?
In common with Michigan University, the NHS say that PAD can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Furthermore, it can also cause a condition known as critical limb ischaemia, also known as CLI a condition that occurs if blood flow to the legs becomes severely restricted.
What makes CLI particularly concerning is that it is a very difficult condition to treat, sometimes requiring surgery to rectify.
In the worst-case scenario, patients may have to have an affected limb amputated.
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