High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Like other precursors to heart attack or stroke, it operates under the surface. This is why it is integral to be able to spot any unusual warning symptoms including any of these three changes you can experience on your hands.  

Accumulation of cholesterol can clog the blood vessels of legs and hands.

This build-up of cholesterol can occur continuously and make the hands and feet painful.

A tingling sensation felt in these body regions could also indicate your levels are dangerously high.

Small, yellow, flesh-coloured or red bumps which are soft could indicate high cholesterol levels, said The American Academy of Dermatology Association.

These bumps appear on the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands or feet.

These could be cholesterol bumps or deposits, a condition due to high cholesterol levels or other serious health issues such as pancreatitis.

Some bumps can be very small, while others can be larger than three inches in diameter.

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A study published in the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, looked at how unusual creases found on the hands could be an indication of high cholesterol levels.

N.R. Shanker of the Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering and Technology and colleagues described how they have developed a non-invasive way to test cholesterol levels in patients at increased risk of heart disease.

Their approach is based on the creation of a large database of cholesterol levels recorded using standard blood tests and linked to a standardised photograph of the hand for each patient; cholesterol is concentrated in the creases of one’s fingers.

Fatty deposits of cholesterol called xanthomas can appear in the creases of the hand.

According to the Winchester Hospital, xanthomas range from very small to up to three inches in size.

Although getting a blood test is a reliable way of determining cholesterol levels, the Indian researchers have proven that the presence of different total levels of cholesterol can also be revealed through image analysis of the skin.

Unfortunately, most people will not experience symptoms of high cholesterol, so the only way to measure blood cholesterol levels is to get a blood test.

“Your GP or practice nurse will take a blood sample, usually by pricking your finger or you might be asked to go for a blood test at your local hospital,” says the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

According to the BHF, your blood is then checked for levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, bad (non-HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of blood fat), as well as getting a total cholesterol result.

HDL cholesterol is often dubbed the “good” cholesterol because it counters the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol.

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