High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver that provides numerous health benefits, such as helping your metabolism work efficiently. High cholesterol implies you have too much LDL cholesterol. This is the harmful type of cholesterol that can clog up your arteries, thereby hiking your risk of having a heart attack.
Unfortunately, this process often goes undetected until it causes a blockage, which can prove life-threatening.
On rare occasions, a telltale sign can emerge on your face.
Sometimes people with high cholesterol have small deposits of fat under their skin.
“These deposits are called xanthelasmas and they can occur on the eyelids,” explains eye health body Allegro Optical.
According to the health body, they are a yellowish colour and they may appear to be slightly raised.
Xanthelasma does not require any treatment and won’t cause any discomfort or other symptoms.
However, as Allegro Optical explains, once a xanthelasma appears, the discoloration will remain unless it is surgically removed.
“If our optometrists note xanthelasma growth, they will, with your permission, inform your GP as this could indicate a possible cholesterol problem.”
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Options for removal may involve:
- Laser vaporisation—different types of light can be used
- Applying chemicals to the affected area
- Surgery to cut them out.
High cholesterol is not the only reason a xanthelasma may occur.
Other causes include:
- Raised fat levels in the blood
- Metabolic problems such as:
- Primary biliary cirrhosis
- High cholesterol
- Certain cancers
According to the Winchester Hospital, xanthelasma is connected to high fat levels in the blood. But, you can still have it without these problems.
How to lower high cholesterol
If you’re diagnosed with high cholesterol, you’ll usually be recommended lifestyle changes to lower your levels.
“To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat,” advises the NHS.
According to the health body, you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Saturated fats are found in many foods, both sweet and savoury. Most of them come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products, as well as some plant-based products.
Try to eat more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, bread and pasta
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables.
Smoking can also raise your cholesterol and make you more likely to have serious problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer,” warns the NHS.
If you want to stop smoking, you can get help and support from:
- Your GP
- The NHS Stop Smoking Service – your GP can refer you or you can ring the helpline on 0300 123 1044 (England only).
They can give you useful tips and advice about ways to stop cravings.
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