High cholesterol levels are troublesome as it means there is too much ‘bad’ cholesterol floating in the blood, which can result in serious complications. The condition does not have any obvious symptoms in the early stages meaning many are unaware until it is too late. Health experts warn that if you feel discomfort in your feet or legs you could be in danger of having high cholesterol.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a build up of cholesterol and plaque in the arteries that lead to your extremities, said Cleveland Clinic.
It continued: “PAD can cause discomfort in your legs and feet and limit your walking and activities.
“Severe PAD can progress to loss of limbs.
“Your doctor can check for signs of the disease with a simple test of pulses in your feet.”
Dr David Slovut explained: “An extremely common PAD symptom is claudication, a type of leg pain or discomfort.
“Because the arteries are clogged, they can’t deliver enough blood to the legs to support exertion.
“Some people say their legs feel ‘heavy’ or tired, or they report a burning pain.
“The pain can be in any part of the leg, from the calf to the thigh or buttock, and it may be in one or both legs.”
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How to diagnose
The simplest test to screen for PAD is to have a GP or physician check for the pulses in the feet during a routine physical exam.
In each foot, there should be two pulses that are easily detected by a trained physician.
This test is performed to determine whether the blood flow to the feet is normal.
What causes high cholesterol?
Nutritionist Helen Bond said: “Our increasingly unhealthy lifestyles – poor eating habits that include too much saturated fat, a lack of exercise, smoking, high alcohol intakes and expanding waistlines due to a slowing metabolism – mean that as we move through the decades towards retirement age, the more likely we are to have unhealthy cholesterol levels.
“In fact, according to the latest figures from the Health Survey for England, only a third (35 percent) of 25 to 34 year olds have a total cholesterol above the generally accepted healthy target of 5mmol/l, compared with nearly half (48 percent) of 35-44 year olds, 61 percent of 45-54 year olds and 65 percent of 55-64 year olds.
“Don’t forget, all adults aged 40-74 years living in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check and it should be repeated every five years.”
Foods to help with high cholesterol
There may be a number of foods which may help, as Mrs Bond explained. She said: “Spices and Herbs – chilli, paprika, fennel seeds, oregano, cinnamon to name a few.
“These are great flavour boosters for your meals and will help you to cut down on blood pressure raising salt.
“Tinned pulses including kidney beans, cannellini or mixed beans and chickpeas for instance, are an inexpensive way to bulk out meals, add fibre to your diet and to help you cut down on fatty cuts of meat.”
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