Harley Street expert Dr. Sami Firoozi reveals the two warning signs of cholesterol complications you can spot in your toenails
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Telltale signs of high cholesterol can be spotted in your toenails, according to a medical expert.
Dr. Sami Firoozi, a consultant cardiologist at Harley Street Clinic, explains that there are two warning signs of cholesterol complications that you can spot.
Brittle toenails are one indication, while slow-growing toenails are another clue that you might have high cholesterol levels, reports the Daily Record.
The condition occurs when there is too much cholesterol or a fatty substance in the bloodstream.
Cholesterol plays an important role in the body, helping the metabolism work efficiently, but high levels can increase the risk of health problems, such as heart disease or stroke.
Harmful levels do not usually give rise to symptoms that make it insidious.
Consistently high levels can also put people at risk for peripheral air disease (PAD), where fatty deposits made of cholesterol build up and block arteries and stop blood supply to leg muscles.
PAD is what can cause the signs in the toenails.
Dr. Firoozi cautioned, “Although PAD is not immediately life-threatening, the atherosclerosis process that causes it can sometimes lead to serious and life-threatening problems, such as critical limb ischemia, which occurs if blood flow blood to the legs is severely restricted.
Symptoms include severe burning pain in the legs and feet even at rest, pale, shiny, smooth, dry skin, and loss of muscle mass in the legs.
Other symptoms include open sores on the feet and legs that do not heal, and the skin on the toes becomes cold, numb, and red, or begins to swell and produce foul-smelling pus.
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A blood test will show the total cholesterol in your blood, including the levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Dr Firoozi said: “Your GP might refer you for a blood test to check your cholesterol levels if they think you’re at risk.
“This will be based on your age, weight, smoking, if you have diabetes, or if there is a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems.
“You may also be tested for elevated cholesterol if you have heart disease, such as coronary artery disease, or a history of stroke.”
Cholesterol levels can be lowered through a person’s diet and exercise.
The NHS recommends reducing fatty foods with a focus on reducing those with saturated fats which are common in meat pies, sausages, butter, ghee, cream, cakes, biscuits and hard cheese such as Cheddar.