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Health is wealth, ladies! We may know it already, but let ourselves loose sometimes, without thinking about its implications. Bad eating habits and improper lifestyle can lead to bad cholesterol accumulation which can further cause health problems. So, it’s important to know what warning signs of high cholesterol.
“Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced in the body essential to building healthy cells. However, when produced in bulk, cholesterol can cause serious health problems for individuals,” says Dr Subrat Akhoury, Director – Interventional Cardiology, Asian Hospital, Faridabad.
How does high cholesterol affect your body?
High cholesterol levels can result in the formation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Sometimes, these deposits can break without any warning and form a clot that in turn causes a stroke or heart attack, explains the expert.
Therefore, it is important to get your cholesterol levels checked at regular intervals to be in the safe zone.
“Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, is not good for your health. Excess build-up of LDL causes narrowing of blood vessels which can lead to chest pain or more serious health events like a heart attack. However, not all cholesterol is bad for your bod,” adds Dr Akhoury.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol and high levels of this lipoprotein are a sign of good health. A lower risk of heart disease and strokes.
Reasons for high cholesterol
High cholesterol can either be a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, being physically inactive, being overweight and obese or it can be inherited.
A healthy lifestyle, coupled with regular exercise and sometimes medication, can help reduce high cholesterol. The condition usually has no symptoms, due to which it is often dubbed as ‘silent’.
Signs of high cholesterol levels
Accoding to Dr Akhoury, some warning signs might show up in your body that can help you identify high cholesterol early on. Watch out for the following signs of high levels of cholesterol:
1. Yellowish nails
The excess plaque deposited in the arteries narrow them down, with large deposits blocking them completely. When the arteries are blocked, it limits the blood flow to several parts of the body, including nails. This can cause your nails to have dark lines underneath them that usually run in the direction of nail growth.
2. Numbness in legs and feet
This could be another tell-tale sign of high cholesterol which signals the development of plaque in your arteries and other blood vessels. Interruptions in the blood flow can result in the prevention of oxygen-rich blood from reaching the arms and feet. This may lead to pain and an uncomfortable, tingling sensation. Other symptoms of high cholesterol in the legs and feet include cold legs or feet, sores that won’t heal, and cramps.
Sweating is a commonly ignored symptom and bells should ring if you start sweating profusely. If you do not have a fever or flu ruled out, you should start thinking about other causes.
4. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
This condition referred to as the accumulation of excess cholesterol in the blood vessels. It leads to clogging, resulting in pain in the extremities. PAD causes discomfort in the hands and feet and can affect day-to-day activities like walking and running thereby, affecting your quality of life.
High cholesterol causes narrowing of blood vessels that can lead to chest pain or more serious health events like a heart attack.
The best way to reduce high cholesterol is by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Some of the lifestyle changes that you can start right away to maintain healthy cholesterol levels include avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption, eating a diet rich in fiber and low in saturated fats, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.