Steer clear of unhealthy food choices: Too much Cholesterol can cause artery blockage & |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Cholesterol is not the evil villain we presume it is. But too much cholesterol can pose a problem.
- Here’s what the American Heart Association says about Cholesterol. Cholesterol – a waxy substance – is not inherently “bad.” Your body needs it to build cells and make vitamins and other hormones.
- High cholesterol contributes to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
If you are one of those who periodically check their blood lipid levels, it shows you are aware of your health parameters. But many of us either are never asked by the physician to check our cholesterol profile or it never occurs to us that it matters.
But there are ways in which the body lets us know if we are in the dangerously high zone. You may have seen some yellowish-orange, waxy growths on the skin of certain people or even your own face. What your body is trying to tell you is that you have unhealthy levels of cholesterol.
These yellowish-orange growths on the skin may have deposits of cholesterol underneath the skin. These painless deposits can appear in many areas, including the corners of your eyes, lines on your palms, or the backs of your lower legs.
The cholesterol deposits on the eyelids are called Xanthelasma and those found elsewhere on the skin are called, Xanthoma, in medical terms.
There may be several reasons why your cholesterol level is high:
It could be genetic
Lifestyle choices may be to blame (such as eating too much fatty food, not exercising enough as well as smoking and drinking alcohol excessively), or
Maybe you are obese.
What is Cholesterol?
The two types of cholesterol are LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and HDL, which is good. Too much LDL, or not enough HDL, increases the risk cholesterol will slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. According to Heart.org, “Cholesterol can join with other substances to form a thick, hard deposit on the inside of the arteries. This can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible – a condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a blood clot forms and blocks one of these narrowed arteries, a heart attack or stroke can result.”
Why you should see a doctor soon:
Having some cholesterol in your blood is healthy, in fact, it is essential for cell function. But having too much can block your blood vessels which can lead to heart problems or a stroke. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Association website explains that yellow or orange waxy growths on your skin could point towards unhealthy cholesterol levels. On their website, they say: “If you see yellowish-orange growths on your skin, you may have deposits of cholesterol under your skin.”
Although these growths may be painless, they should not be ignored. These painless deposits can appear in many areas, such as the corners of your eyes, lines on your palms, or even on the backs of your lower legs, so if any appear it’s worth getting them checked out. Your doctor may advise a blood test to check the levels.
Your GP may recommend some lifestyle changes that will bring cholesterol levels to a healthy count:
Like exercising frequently, eating healthy, quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption. Absolutely worth it, given the fact that it will reduce the risk to your heart health significantly. In some cases, statins may be prescribed by the doctor as a medicine to reduce cholesterol.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.