Why cholesterol is bad for you
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If you have a high level of fat in the blood this is known as having high cholesterol. If untreated this can be a cause for concern as it can raise your risk of life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, being aware of the condition as soon as possible is vital.
However, high cholesterol levels – or hyperlipidemia – can remain undetected for years.
This is because it often doesn’t show symptoms.
But in rare cases it can present as a sign around the eyes.
Xanthelasma is a yellow growth that can appear on or by the corners of your eyelids next to your nose.
This can be caused by cholesterol deposits building up under the skin.
The Cleveland Clinic explains: “Half of the people with xanthelasmas have high cholesterol levels.
“Healthcare providers usually see these levels in people with the kind of high cholesterol you get from your parents or some liver diseases.
“It’s very likely that you have high cholesterol if you have xanthelasmas.”
According to the clinic, the patches of yellow skin can be:
- Flat or bumpy
- Soft or firm
How to reduce cholesterol levels
Having high cholesterol is often associated with a number of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
These include eating too much fatty food, not being active enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol.
However, it can also run in families.
The NHS recommends certain dietary changes as a way to minimise cholesterol.
This includes eating more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, wholegrain bread and wholewheat pasta
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables.
And eating less:
- Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
- Butter, lard and ghee
- Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar
- Cakes and biscuits
- Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil.
It also advises getting at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week, giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol.
Do you have high cholesterol?
Although xanthelasmas is one symptom of high cholesterol, the only way to be entirely sure if you have high cholesterol is by getting tested.
A healthy level of total cholesterol in the blood is considered to be five or less millimoles per litre (mmol/l).
More specifically, a healthy level of high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) is one or more mmol/l.
And you should have four or less mmol/l of low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol).
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