High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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An expert explained that an issue with two fingers could be a sign of the problem. Known as Dupuytren’s contracture, it can make your fourth and fifth fingers “permanently bent”. Dr Deborah Lee, from the Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, said: “This is a type of deformity of the hand.
“The tendons that supply the fourth and fifth fingers, in the palm of the hands, become tightened and contracted, such that you find it hard to fully straighten the fourth and fifth fingers.
“Over time, the fingers become permanently bent.
“Dupuytren’s contracture occurs more often in those with raised cholesterol levels but is also associated with smoking, alcohol, and diabetes.”
She commented: “Many people only become aware for the first time that they have a high cholesterol level, only when they are admitted to hospital, with a heart attack.
“Raised cholesterol can be detected as a result of asymptomatic blood testing.
“Cholesterol tests are offered to all UK adults between the ages of 40 and 74 at their free NHS health check, every five years.”
There are other “unusual” signs to look out for as well.
Dr Lee added: “Arcus senilis – a greyish, white rim that can be seen in the eye, at the outer circumference of the cornea.
“Although common in older adults, if it occurs in a person aged under 40, it may suggest that cholesterol levels are elevated.
“Xanthelasma – whitish, yellow lumps that occur on the face around the eyes and nose.
“Tendon xanthomas can occur on the knuckles, the knees, the Achilles tendon, or on the tendons of the feet.
“Absent pulses – the doctor may find when they examine you, that you have absent pulses in your limbs.
“They may hear ‘bruits’ – abnormal sounds that can be heard if you listen over the blocked artery with a stethoscope.
“Heart murmurs, such as aortic stenosis, may be present.”
If you have any of these symptoms you should ask your GP about getting a cholesterol check.
People with experiencing certain health issues or diseases including obesity, menopause, liver disease, kidney disease, alcoholism and underactive thyroid are more at risk of having a high cholesterol level.
Other medical conditions that could also require you to get tested include:
- High blood pressure
- Angina or a heart attack
- A mini-stroke (transient ischaemic attack), or a full-blown stroke
- Peripheral vascular disease – claudication, or an ischaemic limb (gangrene)
- Aortic aneurysm
- Diabetes (type 1 and type 2)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Eye disease
According to Dr Lee, lifestyle factors that increase your risk of high cholesterol include a high-fat diet, a high-sugar diet, smoking, stress and lack of exercise.
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