High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Cholesterol is a fatty substance the body needs for the production of hormones and cells, but not all cholesterol lipids are beneficial to our health. Low-density lipoprotein is a key contributor to the narrowing and hardening of arteries seen in peripheral artery disease (PAD). As the blood vessels become partially obstructed, the limbs become starved of the oxygen they need. This can cause wide-ranging symptoms, including swelling in three areas of the body.
According to Science Direct: “PAD is characterised by obstruction in arterial bed other than the coronary arteries and is caused by atherosclerosis in the vast majority of patients.
“The most common site is the lower extremity, where occlusive disease leads to impaired perfusion.”
Indeed, PAD is a leading cause of swelling in the lower regions of the body.
This type of swelling is medically termed peripheral oedema, which occurs when small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissue.
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While is it a key symptom of circulatory diseases, it can also indicate dysfunction of the lymph nodes, kidneys, liver or heart muscles.
As extra fluid seeps into the tissue in the legs, feet and ankles, it causes swelling in all three areas.
The health body Lam Vascular explains: “Venous or vascular insufficiency can cause peripheral oedema in the ankles and feet; this occurs when the veins are having trouble transporting enough blood back to the heart.
“Thus, fluid gathers in the legs and is forced out of the blood vessels into the surrounding tissue (ankles and feet).”
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According to the health body, telltale signs of oedema include a feeling of fullness or heaviness in the legs or arms, increased abdominal size, swelling or puffiness of the tissue directly under the skin, or skin that leaves a dent after being pressed for several seconds.
Sometimes people notice tightness or warmth of the skin near the swollen area, or difficulty moving the affected limbs.
What’s more, the symptoms may be more noticeable when wearing certain items of clothing or jewellery, notes the Lam Vascular.
Catching peripheral artery disease in the initial stages is imperative for averting cardiac events like a heart attack or stroke.
PAD, however, usually develops over the course of a lifetime, so symptoms may only become apparent in the advanced stages.
What’s more, outwards symptoms typically appear once an artery has narrowed by 60 percent, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The body explains: “Half of the people who have peripheral vascular disease don’t have any symptoms, but pain and discomfort in the legs is a common symptom.
“You may also feel weak or tired while walking. Affected parts of your leg may include your calves, thighs, or buttocks,” adds the Cleveland Clinic.
A surefire way to avoid PAD is to address all predisposing risk factors.
High cholesterol levels can be managed with the help of a good diet, but the cessation of smoking and limiting alcohol intake are equally important.
High blood pressure, atherosclerosis and diabetes should also be managed efficiently to lower health risks.
Exercise can help manage all the above conditions, and improve the symptoms related to the progression of PAD.
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