High cholesterol symptoms: Three changes to your nails that can signal high cholesterol

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Cholesterol is not intrinsically bad – the fatty substance helps to make cell membranes and key hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. However, high cholesterol implies you have dangerous amounts of LDL cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol is commonly referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it clogs up your arteries – a precursor to having a heart attack.

Partly what makes the condition so deadly is that it often operates undetected.

However, symptoms of consistently high cholesterol levels can occasionally bubble up to the surface.

According to health body Medicover Hospitals, black or reddish-brown spots on your nails can signal high cholesterol levels.

“The condition is caused by small damaged blood vessels under the nail,” explains the health body.

The black or reddish-brown spots have the following distinguishing characteristics:

Do not change appearance when you apply pressure to the nail

Appear in one or more places under the nail.

As Medicover Hospitals explains, an accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels of the nails can cause this damage.

However, in most cases, you can only find out if you have it from a blood test.

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“Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high,” explains the NHS.

“This may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).”

How to lower high cholesterol

There are several foods which are not just part of a healthy diet, they can actively help to lower your cholesterol too.

According to cholesterol charity Heart UK, cutting down on saturated fat is a great way to lower your cholesterol and look after your heart.

Saturated fat, which is found in fatty cuts of meat and ghee, increases LDL cholesterol.

“And it’s just as important to replace some of this with unsaturated fats,” explains Heart UK.

Unsaturated fats include:

  • Vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
  • Avocado, nuts and seeds
  • Fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil.

Following a Mediterranean-style diet is a surefire way to get all the unsaturated fats you need.

The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.

But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.

The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart.

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