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High cholesterol: The skin change that could be an urgent warning sign – ‘see a doctor’

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High cholesterol impacts an estimated 39 percent of adults in the UK, yet the condition can be difficult to spot due to its lack of symptoms. Though the only way to be certain of cholesterol levels is by visiting a doctor, dermatological experts point out there are some skin changes that could be a sign of worrying levels of LDL.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) small, yellow or orange growths known as xanthelasma palpebrarum could be a symptom of high cholesterol.

Though painless, these deposits beneath the skin can be a sign of potentially fatal levels of LDL which, in some cases, can lead to heart disease.

The deposits commonly appear in the corners of the eyes, lines of the palms or the back of the lower legs.

The AAD states: “If you notice these growths on any area of your skin, see your doctor.

“You may need cholesterol testing or another medical test. Unhealthy cholesterol levels require treatment, which can prevent life-threatening heart disease.

“Getting your cholesterol levels under control may also help clear the growths on your skin.”

Your doctor can diagnose xanthelasma palpebrarum by examining the skin.

They may also conduct a blood test to measure your lipid levels.

Though the skin condition is sometimes caused by high cholesterol, it is important to note that it is not always the root cause.

However, if high cholesterol is the driving factor, diet and lifestyle choices can be enough to manage unhealthy levels.

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What factors increase your risk of developing xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma can develop in anyone for a number of reasons, however high cholesterol is one major risk factor.

According to Health Line, there are also several other risk factors, including:

  • Being a woman
  • Being aged between 30 and 50
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Having high blood pressure
  • Having diabetes

How can you manage high cholesterol?

High cholesterol can develop as a side-effect of diabetes or hypertension, or be caused by hereditary factors, such as a history of stroke or heart disease.

However, often lifestyle choices are to blame for a rise in levels.

Eating an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol or smoking can all contribute to high LDL levels.

This is why making lifestyle changes can be key in naturally reducing cholesterol.

Your doctor may recommend you incorporate more exercise into your routine, try to lose weight if overweight or obese, change your diet or avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.

In some cases, though, your doctor may need to prescribe statins or another medication to help lower your cholesterol.

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