High cholesterol symptoms: THIS colour in your leg could indicate high cholesterol
01/7 High cholesterol may come with subtle signs
High cholesterol is one of the most common risk factors of heart diseases, associated with the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is necessary for the body to create healthy cells. However, when there is an excess of ‘bad’ cholesterol or fatty deposits in the blood vessels, it jams the arteries, making it difficult for the blood to flow through the arteries. Furthermore, when these deposits suddenly break, they form a clot, which can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
While high cholesterol is a condition that can be inherited, it is often an outcome of unhealthy lifestyle choices including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and excess body weight. What’s worse is that increased cholesterol levels usually do not show any signs or symptoms.
But experts believe this illness can leave certain indications in the legs!
02/7 Pay close attention to your legs
According to experts, undiagnosed and untreated high cholesterol can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls, also called plaque. These fatty deposits or plaque can narrow down the arteries, hindering or blocking smooth blood flow to different parts of the body, including the legs. The plaque can also break, causing blood clots to form, which can be detrimental.
When the blood flow to the legs is hampered or blocked, it can lead to a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD).
03/7 What is peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
Peripheral artery disease is a condition associated with narrowed arteries due to plaque build-up, which leads to reduced blood flow to the arms and legs.
A person suffering from PAD does not get enough blood in the legs or arms (usually legs), causing leg pain when walking. This is also known as ‘claudiction’.
If not treated on time, this can lead to critical limb ischemia and acute limb ischemia, which are an advanced form of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) affecting blood flow in the extremities.
04/7 Watch out for the colour in your legs
Since PAD has to do with reduced blood flow to the legs, it can cause certain colour changes in the leg.
If not detected or treated on time, your leg can start turning pale or blue. This occurs due to reduced or decreased blood flow to the legs.
Additionally, you may also experience a painful ache in your leg, especially when you’re walking. This pain may subside with a few minutes of resting.
05/7 Not other signs of PAD
According to the Mayo Clinic, peripheral artery disease (PAD) may be accompanied by several symptoms including:
– Coldness, numbness and weakness in the lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side
– Weak or no pulse in the legs or feet
– Painful cramping in one or both of the hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs
– Slower growth of the toenails
– Sores on the toes, feet or legs that won’t heal
– Pain when using the arms, such as aching and cramping when knitting, writing or doing other manual tasks
– Erectile dysfunction
– Hair loss or slower hair growth on the legs
06/7 Get yourself a blood test
While PAD can be an indicator of high cholesterol levels in the body, just like the latter, it doesn’t necessarily display any warning signs or symptoms.
That said, it is best if you get yourself tested. In order to detect high cholesterol, you can get a simple blood test known as a lipid profile, or lipid panel. Your doctor will tell you whether or not you will require fasting. The fasting window can go from 8 to 12 hours before they draw the blood.
07/7 Lower your cholesterol levels with the right lifestyle choices
Switching to a healthier lifestyle can work wonders for your overall health.
When it comes to lowering your cholesterol levels, eating a nutritious, well balanced diet and regular exercise can help you achieve it.
Furthermore, if you’re already taking medicines for it, you must be consistent and thorough in taking them regularly, as directed by the doctor.
Most importantly, aim to achieve a healthy body weight, as obesity is one of the reigning risk factors for many illnesses, including heart disease.