High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol can block your blood vessels – a mechanism that makes you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke. For most people, cholesterol accumulates without any perceptible symptoms. However, research has found cholesterol deposits can cause noticeable changes in the body.
A case study published in the journal Hindawi found xanthoma led to restrained motion of the joints.
Xanthomas are yellowish cholesterol-rich material that’s deposited in tendons or other body parts.
A 42-year-old man made a complaint of restriction of motion particularly in the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand.
He had never been examined before because the restriction of motion had only arisen in the past month.
The painless masses were growing slowly and were causing dysfunction of the affected joints.
The patient’s serum cholesterol level was above normal and a biopsy showed xanthoma cells dispersed between the collagen fibres of the tendon.
“To our knowledge, this case is the first case in the English literature regarding xanthoma leading to restrained motion of the joints,” wrote the study researchers.
According to the Winchester Hospital, xanthoma is more common in older adults.
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Your chances are higher if you:
- Have one of the metabolic problems listed above
- Have very high cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
For most people, the only way to determine high cholesterol levels is to get a blood test, notes the NHS.
“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the health body.
It adds: “This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”
How to lower high cholesterol
Changing what foods you eat is key to lowering your cholesterol levels.
“Adding foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle that contributes to artery-clogging atherosclerosis, is the best way to achieve a low cholesterol diet,” explains Harvard Health.
According to the health body, “an easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast”.
Crucially, oats contain soluble fibre, which deals a decisive blow to high cholesterol.
Harvard Health explains: “Soluble fibre binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation.”
Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing some of it with unsaturated fats is also a great way to lower your cholesterol, explains cholesterol charity Heart UK.
Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.
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