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High cholesterol symptoms: Can you smell that? The smelly warning sign of high cholesterol


High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called LDL cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol is often dubbed the “bad” cholesterol because it can gum up your arteries, thereby raising your risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, this process often goes undetected – but not always.

A general linear model was used to test differences in serum concentrations of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (another form of fat) across groups with different smell and taste status after adjusting for age, sex, education, occupation, smoking, drinking, obesity, and history of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and head injury.

A general linear model is a useful framework for comparing how several variables affect different continuous variables.

The researchers found the prevalence of smell and taste dysfunction was 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Worse smell and taste dysfunction was associated with higher total cholesterol concentrations.

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“In this large cross-sectional study, chemosensory dysfunction was associated with higher serum total cholesterol concentrations among Chinese adults,” the researchers concluded.

Chemosensor is a medical term for the perception of chemical substances, as in odour detection.

How to diagnose high cholesterol

It is worth noting that most people will not experience any perceptible warning signs.

You can only find out if you have high cholesterol from getting a blood test.

“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the NHS.

“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”

How to lower high cholesterol

You can lower your cholesterol levels by improving your lifestyle.

There are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet, they can actively help to lower your cholesterol too.

“Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower your cholesterol,” explains cholesterol charity Heart UK.

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.

Foods containing unsaturated fats include:

  • Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
  • Avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
  • Oily fish.

“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats,” adds Heart UK.

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