Cholesterol: The sign in your leg which could indicate high levels – how to reduce it

Dr Chris reveals an annual jab could reduce cholesterol

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According to one study, the legs are one of those areas.

High cholesterol can cause a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD) which is associated with a narrowing of the arteries caused by the build-up of cholesterol.

A patient with PAD is an individual who struggles to get enough blood to their legs, a condition which causes pain while walking.

One of the main signs of PAD is a change to the legs in question, specifically, their colour from normal skin colour to a pale blue.

If the legs start to turn pale blue, this is a sign blood flow to the legs is being limited.

If PAD isn’t treated in time, it can have serious consequences for the patient, including acute limb ischemia.

Symptoms of the condition according to NICE include:
• Constant and persistent pain in the limb
• Loss of power in the limb
• Reduced sensation or numbness
• Change in colour of the limb
• Absence of an ankle pulse.

As a result, keeping an eye on cholesterol levels is key in order to avoid such serious consequences.

What are the best ways to lower cholesterol?

Fortunately, high cholesterol is a common condition and there are a variety of ways it can be treated.

The main treatments centre around lifestyle habits such as improving diet, increasing activity, and cutting poor lifestyle habits.

This means eating more oily fish, brown rice, bread, pasta, nuts, seeds alongside fruit and vegetables while cutting out

foods high in fat and meat.
With regards to exercise, the NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise a week.

Other lifestyle changes include cutting down on alcohol, including the addition of alcohol-free days, and quitting smoking.

However, should these fail, some medications are available to lower how much cholesterol the body is producing.

Known as statins, these work by reducing how much cholesterol is produced in the liver; once first prescribed, they are normally taken for life.

Other medicines occasionally prescribed are ezetimibe, fibrates, bile acid sequestrants, and bempedoic acid.

Sometimes, these medications can cause side effects which will be listed on the leaflet present with each packet of medication.

If a side effect occurs which isn’t listed, there is a way for the patient affected to take action, by reporting the issue to the Yellow Card Scheme.

Run by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), the scheme allows patients to report issues with medicines and medicinal products.

Once reviewed, the MHRA can decide whether or not to take action or request a change to the product in question.

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