01/8Warning signs in legs
High levels of cholesterol in the body can lead to cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease and stroke. High cholesterol has a lack of symptoms, due to which it is often dubbed as a silent killer. A blood test is required to identify high cholesterol levels.
People usually find excessive weight or body fat as indicators of high cholesterol. However, there are some warning signs that might crop up in other parts of your body, such as your legs. The blockage of the arteries in the extremities is known as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, and some of the arteries that might be impacted may be supplying blood to the legs. Therefore, it is advised to not ignore these signs and consult a doctor if you experience them.
02/8Cold feet and legs
High cholesterol levels can make your feet or legs feel cold or chilly all around the year, even in summers. This may be an indicator that you have PAD, though it does not necessarily mean PAD only. However, if you feel like one leg or foot is cold, but not the other, it could be time to talk to your doctor.
03/8Skin colour alteration
A decrease in the flow of the blood due to high cholesterol can also change the colour of your skin. That's because the cells are not getting proper nourishment due to decreased flow of blood carrying nutrients and oxygen. Trying to elevate the legs, for example, can lead the skin to look pale, but hanging it from a table can cause the skin to seem purple or bluish.
Leg pain is among the most common symptoms of PAD. When the arteries of your legs are clogged, a sufficient, required amount of oxygen-rich blood does not reach your lower part. It can make your leg feel heavy and tired. Most people with high cholesterol levels complain about burning pain in the lower limbs. One may feel pain in any part of the leg, from the calf to the thigh or buttock, and it may be in one or both legs. This happens most often from taking part in physical activities such as walking, jogging, and stair climbing. This discomfort is usually gone when you take rest and may be felt again when you start moving your legs again.
05/8Cramps during night
Intense leg cramps when sleeping is another common symptom of high cholesterol levels damaging the arteries of the lower limbs. The condition gets worse at night while sleeping. People with PAD may have cramps or spasms when sleeping, most commonly in the heel, forefoot, or toes. Dangling the foot off the bed or sitting can be the option to get relief from it, which allows gravity to assist blood flow to the feet.
06/8Ulcers that don’t heal
Leg or foot ulcers are unhealed sores or open wounds. Without treatment, these types of ulcers can keep recurring. This condition is most commonly caused by poor circulation. Ulcers that don't heal or heal very slowly can signal that the high cholesterol is cutting off blood flow to your legs. People with PDA will find themselves unable to walk far or fast due to their tired, achy legs. If they’re treated early, leg ulcers can improve without causing any further complications.
07/8Atrophy of calf muscles
People with advanced PAD may experience atrophy, or a reduction in the size of their calf muscle. A lack of adequate blood flow due to high cholesterol can lead to a decline in the number and size of muscle fibers. As the limbs become deprived of nutrient-rich blood and oxygen, muscles start wasting away.
As per experts, those with severe PAD can lose more than half of their muscle fibers in an affected area, and the remaining muscle fibers tend to atrophy or shrink in size.
08/8Cholesterol should always be checked
The silent killer, high cholesterol should always be kept under check.
After one has been diagnosed with high cholesterol one should make changes in diet and lifestyle manners in order to bring down the level of the low density lipoprotein or the bad cholesterol.
Normally, the level of low density lipoproteins should be less than 70 milligrams per deciliter.