High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. The fatty substance can clog up your arteries, starving your heart of oxygenated blood – a precursor to having a heart attack. It is commonly the result of poor lifestyle decisions, but you can inherit high cholesterol levels too.
In fact, people that are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels are more likely to experience symptoms.
Ordinarily, high cholesterol levels do not produce symptoms – it can only be diagnosed via a blood test.
However, there are distinct warning signs that can show up if you have type 3 hyperlipidaemia – a rare genetic condition which causes high cholesterol and triglycerides.
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in your blood.
Xanthomas may appear anywhere on the body.
But, as the Winchester Hospital explains, the most common places are the elbows, joints, tendons, knees, hands, feet, and buttocks.
These bumps may be:
How to lower high cholesterol
Addressing unhealthy aspects of your lifestyle is key to staving off the risks associated with high cholesterol.
Diet can provide a buffer against high cholesterol and there are some general dietary principles to follow.
“To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat,” notes the NHS.
According to the health body, you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Try to eat more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, bread and pasta
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables.
According to the NHS, you should also aim to do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week.
Some good things to try when starting out include:
- Walking – try to walk fast enough so your heart starts beating faster
“Try a few different exercises to find something you like doing. You’re more likely to keep doing it if you enjoy it,” adds the NHS.