High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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If the blood vessels in the legs and feet have narrowed due to a build-up of cholesterol, you are likely to suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD). The Heart Research Institute UK (HRIUK) warned that three sensations felt in the lower limbs could develop into “gangrene”. Speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you experience intermittent leg pain during activity, such as walking.
Another warning sign that you could develop gangrene down the line is feeling pins and needles in your legs.
Alternatively, maybe you have lost all feelings in your legs, meaning they are numb.
HRIUK explained: “The reduced blood flow to the limbs can lead to the limb developing gangrene, where it starts to decay and die.
“There is no cure for gangrene. The only treatment option is to amputate the affected limb to prevent the gangrene from spreading further in the body.”
The NHS pointed out symptoms of gangrene to be aware of; this includes:
- Redness and swelling in the affected area
- Either a loss of sensation or severe pain in the affected area
- Sores or blisters in the affected area that bleed or produce a foul-smelling pus.
“You should see your GP immediately if you’re worried you may have gangrene,” the NHS advised.
To reduce your risk of developing gangrene, you need to “take extra care of your feet”.
People who have diabetes should have their feet checked by a medical professional annually.
If you suffer from high blood sugar and you experience numbness in your feet, you are required to have more regular check-ups.
The NHS also strongly advises against smoking, which can cause arteries to become blocked.
If the arteries supplying blood to your legs are blocked, peripheral artery disease will develop and you will be at risk of gangrene.
Support to stop smoking is available on the NHS Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.
If you eat an unhealthy diet, you will make any existing risk of gangrene increase.
“Continuing to eat high-fat foods will cause more fatty plaques to build-up in your arteries,” the health body explained.
High-fat foods to avoid:
- Meat pies
- Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
- Hard cheese
- Cakes and biscuits
- Food containing coconut or palm oil.
Drinking alcohol also has a negative effect on your health by increasing your blood pressure and raising levels of cholesterol.
Thus, in order to reduce your risk of gangrene – especially if you already have high cholesterol – you must lead a healthy lifestyle.
Living healthily consists of a diet full of fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly and eradicating any unhealthy habits.
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