High cholesterol: Smell that? The extremely serious sign that can be difficult to treat

This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol

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High cholesterol is a fatty substance that can accumulate in your blood. Too much of this culprit can hike your risk of heart problems and strokes. Unlike other health conditions, high cholesterol doesn’t often show many warning signs. However, a health portal warns that it might lead to a condition that can cause a smelly pus.

Although high cholesterol can be difficult to spot, leaving this condition untreated can lead to atherosclerosis.

During this process, your arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaques.

However, this process doesn’t end here as this cholesterol build-up can also block your arteries and restrict the blood flow to your legs.

The NHS explains that this is also referred to as peripheral arterial disease (PAD). And this condition is able to trigger the smelly warning sign.

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If the blood flow to your legs gets “severely restricted”, you can risk developing critical limb ischaemia (CLI).

CLI describes an “extremely serious” complication that can be “challenging to treat”, according to the NHS.

This condition can also cause the smelly sign in the form of a pus.

The health service explains that the skin on your toes or lower limbs can become cold and numb, turning red and then black, and/or beginning to swell and produce this pus.

This complication can cause severe pain and needs to be addressed “immediately”.

The NHS recommends seeing your GP or phoning 111 or your local out-of-hours service.

As this condition is triggered by the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries, CLI symptoms could point to this underlying cause.

However, it’s important to note that high cholesterol rarely causes warning signs.

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That’s why the most reliable way of determining your levels is through a blood test.

Your doctor might take a blood from your arm or do a finger-prick test.

Based on your age, weight or another condition, your doctor might suggest getting tested.

The good news is that once you get the diagnosis, there’s plenty you can do to get your cholesterol levels to drop.

How to lower high cholesterol

From a healthy diet to medicine, there are various interventions available for getting rid of the fatty substance.

The key to a cholesterol-lowering diet is cutting back on saturated fat but upping your fibre intake can also help.

Other helpful interventions include quitting cigarettes, drinking less alcohol and taking up exercise.

However, your doctor might instruct you to take a medicine called statins to prevent further problems.

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