High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a medical term that describes an armada of fats circulating in the bloodstream. These often get deposited onto the arterial walls, contributing to the formation of cholesterol-filled plaque. If fragments of cholesterol dislodge from this plaque, a blockage may follow. Although most cases are treatable, the condition may prove fatal if warning signs are ignored.
The term embolism is widely associated with a blood clot that has travelled to the lungs, where it can kill.
Although blood clots are often the cause of embolism, debris from cholesterol-filled plaque has been known to cause similar blockages.
A cholesterol embolism occurs when a vessel leading to an organ becomes blocked by platelets and proteins.
This often occurs in the aorta – the largest artery in the body that carries blood away from the heart.
Symptoms will vary depending on which vessel is affected but some general features may be invaluable indications of the disease.
According to Monika Wassermann, Medical Director at oliolusso, pain and discolouration in the foot can be symptomatic of an embolism.
The expert said: “It is possible because of dead tissues that darken the latter.
“Such changes usually accompany extreme pain that requires opiates to feel better.
“The symptoms include foot and toe pain, skin discolouration, diarrhoea, blood in the gastrointestinal tracts.”
The gradual process of an embolism can become dangerous if the major organs become deprived of blood flow.
Medscape explains: “Cholesterol embolism, or atheroembolism, is a condition that has historically been a diagnostic challenge owing to its nonspecific symptoms and because it often mimics other more common conditions and diseases.”
It continues: “On physical examination, the presence of netlike or lace-like, blue to deep-purple patches with a mottled appearance involving the distal extremities and blue fingers or toes can be invaluable clinical features in diagnosing cholesterol embolism.”
The health body adds that the diagnosis of cholesterol embolism is often missed or overlooked, resulting in potentially devastating and even fatal consequences.
Various conditions have been clinically linked to the development of such embolisms, including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease and tobacco use.
How to avoid cholesterol embolismSince cholesterol tends to be a marker of atherosclerosis, the condition can easily be avoided by making appropriate dietary changes.
A healthy diet, rich in nutrient-dense foods, may reduce the risk of developing clogged arteries.
There is evidence that cruciferous vegetables, fish, berries, oats, greens and beans are particularly helpful for this.
Many of the foods listed above interact with cholesterol by either preventing its absorption or dragging fatty molecules of the digestive tract.
Coupled with regular exercise, these lifestyle measures can make a significant difference to the levels of plaque growing inside the arteries.
The University of Rochester Medical Centre, adds: “Regular aerobic exercise can help fight atherosclerosis by reducing the amount of fat in your blood, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and controlling your weight.”
It’s never too late to start exercising. Brisk walking, swimming and bicycling are good choices.”
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