High cholesterol can increase your risk of heart problems or stroke and usually doesn’t cause any symptoms
High cholesterol is often thought of as the “invisible killer” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms, meaning it can be hard to spot.
Those who have high cholesterol are at higher risk of heart problems and circulatory diseases, including heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia.
It can only be detected by a blood test, but some physical changes can be warning signs that your cholesterol levels are too high.
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in your blood that plays an important role in how your body works. It is found in every cell in the body and is particularly important in the brain, nerves and skin.
High cholesterol is caused when the body has too much cholesterol in the blood. This is mainly a consequence of:
- eat fatty foods
- not exercising enough
- to be overweight
- drink alcohol
Other factors that can cause high cholesterol that cannot be controlled are age, gender, ethnic background, an underactive thyroid, or it may run in your family.
Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart problems or stroke.
Are There Warning Symptoms of High Cholesterol?
High cholesterol doesn’t usually cause symptoms, but research suggests it can be detected by unpleasant odors.
A study published in the journal laryngoscope in 2020 suggests that phantom odor perception is associated with high cholesterol levels.
Phantom odor perception is when a person perceives an unpleasant, foul, or burning odor when nothing is there.
The researchers collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014 and produced a nationally representative sample of 7,417 adults ages 40 and older.
Participants reported vascular disease, including a history of stroke, and total cholesterol was also measured.
The results showed that adults with diagnosed but controlled high cholesterol reported phantom odors more often than those without high cholesterol.
Stroke was also associated with a 76% greater likelihood of phantom odor perception, while congestive heart failure and angina pectoris were associated with three and 2.8 times the likelihood of phantom odor perception in adults aged 40 to 59 years and 50 years, respectively.
A three-fold higher likelihood of phantom odor perception in adults 60 years and older with diabetes was also observed, but only in those using both insulin and oral medications.
The researchers concluded, “Stroke, angina, congestive heart failure, well-controlled hypertension, and well-controlled high cholesterol are associated with the perception of phantom odors.”
One doctor has also warned that the most obvious signs of high cholesterol are due to peripheral artery disease (PAD), which causes fatty deposits to build up in the arteries and restricts blood flow to the leg muscles.
Doctor Sami Firoozi, Consultant Cardiologist at Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UKsaid a tell-tale sign of PAD can be “smelly pus” developing on your toes and lower limbs.
said dr Firoozi The Express: “Although PAD is not immediately life-threatening, the process of atherosclerosis that causes it can sometimes lead to serious and fatal problems, such as: B. Critical limb ischemia, which occurs when blood flow to the legs is severely restricted.
“The skin on your toes or lower limbs becomes cold, numb, turns red and then black and/or begins to swell and produce fetid pus, causing severe pain (gangrene).”
Other warning signs can include:
- severe burning pains in legs and feet that persist even at rest
- the skin becomes pale, shiny, smooth and dry
- open sores on feet and legs that do not heal
- Loss of muscle mass in the legs
dr Firoozi added, “In some cases, cholesterol can build up around the eyes, forming greasy, yellowish clumps.”
How to lower cholesterol
The NHS recommends simple lifestyle changes to help lower cholesterol. This contains:
Cut down on fatty foods
Eating less fatty foods, especially foods that contain saturated fat, can help lower your cholesterol to healthy levels.
Foods to reduce include:
- Meat pies, sausages and fatty meats
- butter, lard and ghee
- Cream and hard cheeses, like cheddar
- cakes and cookies
- Foods containing coconut oil or palm oil
Instead, try eating more:
- fatty fish, such as mackerel and salmon
- brown rice, bread and pasta
- nuts and seeds
- fruits and vegetables
Do more exercises
You should aim for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise per week. Swimming, cycling and hiking are good starting points.
Smoking can raise your cholesterol levels and make you more likely to develop serious health problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
You can get help and support from your GP and the NHS smoking cessation service – Your GP can refer you or you can call the hotline on 0300 123 1044 (England only). The service can provide useful tips and advice on how to stop cravings.
You should try to avoid more than 14 units of alcohol per week and schedule several non-drinking days.
The NHS also recommends avoiding large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time (binge drinking) and asking your GP for help and advice if you are struggling to stop drinking.
https://www.nationalworld.com/health/high-cholesterol-warning-symptom-causes-lower-cholesterol-3695535 High cholesterol: “smelly” warning symptom associated with high levels,