Similarly to high blood pressure, high cholesterol doesn’t cause many warning signs. The waxy substance in your blood can quietly build up and cause your arteries to narrow. However, your legs might hold some clues.
From swelling to colour changes in your legs, there are some telltale signs associated with high cholesterol.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Media Medic, said: “About one in 500 people in the UK have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited cause of raised cholesterol.
“If you have this, you may develop soft swellings on your knuckles, knees or your Achilles tendon (at the back of your ankle).”
So, swelling in these areas could point to the culprit. However, this sign is only linked to familial hypercholesterolemia.
The Mayo Clinic explains that this diagnosis puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and a greater risk of an early heart attack.
This inherited condition affects the way your body processes cholesterol.
While being present since birth, the symptoms or problems might only appear later in life.
But this isn’t the only clue in your legs which could point to high cholesterol. Another sign which can appear in this area is linked to a condition triggered by cholesterol called peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
PAD is caused by the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries, which restricts the blood flow to your legs.
While this only occurs once cholesterol progresses, there are visible signs, drawing attention to the underlying cause.
The NHS notes that both legs are often affected at the same time but the pain may be worse in one particular leg.
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“Because of this, many people don’t realise they have it until they develop a serious health issue like a heart attack or stroke.
“Just because people aren’t experiencing symptoms like chest pain or palpitations, they assume they are fine and have nothing to be concerned about.
“As high cholesterol is often symptomless, one of the best things you can do is to get your cholesterol levels checked, particularly if you’ve already had an event or have a history of heart disease in the family.”
Getting a blood test remains the most reliable way of finding out your levels. Your doctor can either take a blood from your arm or do a finger-prick test.