This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol
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High cholesterol describes a build-up of a waxy substance called cholesterol in your arteries. But this is only the beginning of the condition as high cholesterol can lead to serious health problems, ranging from heart diseases to strokes. One way to spot the culprit is by looking at your nails, according to Monika Wassermann, Medical Director at Olio Lusso.
Ms Wassermann said: “Our bodies should ring alarm bells when under attack. Well, I beg to differ [as] this is not always the case with high cholesterol.
“High cholesterol attacks in silence, making it difficult to notice its symptoms.
“However, this does not mean you can completely fail to identify high cholesterol levels in your body.
“One red flag could appear on your nails.
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“If you didn’t know, high cholesterol causes plaque formation in your blood vessels.
“The plaque then affects blood circulation, resulting in pale nails.”
According to the NHS, this isn’t the only sign that can appear in your nails.
The health service shares that brittle, slow-growing toenails could be also pointing to high cholesterol levels.
Brittle toenails are one of the warning signs associated with a condition called peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
This condition is triggered by a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries, leading to a restricted blood supply to your legs.
However, the health service notes that symptoms of PAD often take a long time to develop.
Once you do identify the symptoms, it’s important to get medical help as soon as possible.
Apart from the red flags in your nails, Ms Wassermann shared other signs that might occur.
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She said: “Other issues caused by plaque formation include heart attack, stroke, and numbness.
“If by any chance you spot pale nails or other aforementioned symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as you can.
“Your healthcare provider will perform a blood test to help you find out whether or not it is high cholesterol affecting you.”
While these signs could be pointing to high cholesterol levels, the condition rarely causes symptoms.
Dubbed as “silent”, high cholesterol can be most reliably picked up through a blood test.
How to lower high cholesterol levels
Fortunately, there are many different measures that can help to lower your levels, ranging from diet to medicine.
For example, the key to a cholesterol-lowering diet is to cut down on fatty foods rich in saturated fat. You should reduce the intake of offenders like sausages, biscuits and cheese.
Other helpful lifestyle tweaks include exercising, quitting smoking and cutting down on alcohol.
However, some people might have to start taking a medication called statins to avoid further health problems.
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