WE use our feet every day to get from A to B so when they don't feel right, it's something most people take note of.
It's important to look after your trotters as medics say spotting some persistent signs could save you from a silent killer.
Cholesterol is the fatty substance that is carried in the blood by proteins.
High levels of cholesterol can build up in the artery walls and reduce blood flow to the heart.
This increases the risk of a clot forming around the body and also coronary heart disease occurring.
If you've got high levels, then it will increase your risk of narrowing of the arteries, heart attacks, stroke, mini strokes and peripheral arterial disease.
It's key to know the signs of the illness, and experts say that one place you should keep an eye on is your feet.
When your blood flow becomes strained when you have peripheral arterial disease, it often concentrates in the feet, gurus at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explained.
"When the blood flow becomes worse, the body can’t deliver enough blood, nutrients and oxygen to the skin and soft tissues.
"This usually occurs in the feet, as they are furthest from the heart."
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The three signs that you might experience in your feet include:
- Persistent pain
- Ulcers or lesions that won't heal over a long period of time
However, medics state that there aren't usually any typical signs you have high cholesterol which is why it's so important to get it checked out.
"It's a hidden risk factor which means it happens without us knowing until it's too late," BHF experts state.
You may also be at risk if you have a family history of premature coronary heart disease and if you're of South Asian origin.
"The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk of developing a heart or circulatory disease such as a heart attack, stroke or vascular dementia," the experts explained.
Dr Zoe Williams recently explained how GPs calculate the level of cholesterol risk.
What is the difference between high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein?
HDLs carry cholesterol away from cells and back to the liver where it can be broken down.
This is then used by the body or passed out as waste.
HDLs are known as “good cholesterol” and higher levels are considered better.
LDLs carry cholesterol to cells that require it, but if too much is delivered this can build up in artery walls, which can lead to heart disease.
LDLs are therefore known as “bad cholesterol”.
"We calculate a patient’s ten-year risk using something called a QRISK2 assessment tool.
"It takes into account factors including smoking and diabetes, ethnicity and social background. It is not always necessary to start statins as a preventative measure straight away.
"People should be offered the chance to have their risk assessed again after they have tried to change their lifestyle," she said.
What's an ideal safe level of cholesterol?
The way you can measure blood cholesterol levels is using the unit millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/L).
Your levels of cholesterol should be:
- 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk
When it comes to measuring LDLs, the levels should be:
- 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
- 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk
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