Harley Street expert Dr Sami Firoozi reveals the two warning signs of complications with cholesterol that you may be able to spot from your toenails
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Telltale signs of high cholesterol can be spotted in your toenails, according to a medical expert.
Dr Sami Firoozi, a consultant cardiologist at Harley Street Clinic, explains that there are a two cholesterol complication warning signs that you may be able to spot.
Brittle toenails is one indication while slow growing toenails is another clue that you might have high cholesterol levels, reports the Daily Record.
The condition occurs when there is too much cholesterol, or fatty substance, in your blood stream.
Cholesterol plays an important role in the body as it helps the metabolism work efficiently but high levels can increase the risk of health problems such as heart conditions or stroke.
Harmful levels do not often give rise to symptoms which makes it insidious.
Consistently high levels can also put people at risk of peripheral aerial disease (PAD) where fatty deposits made from cholesterol build up and block the arteries and stop blood supplies to the leg muscles.
PAD is what may cause the signs in your toenails.
Dr Firoozi warned: “Although PAD is not immediately life-threatening, the process of atherosclerosis that causes it can sometimes lead to serious and fatal problems such as critical limb ischaemia which occurs if the blood flow to the legs becomes severely restricted.”
Symptoms include strong burning pain in the legs and feet even when resting, skin turning pale, shiny, smooth and dry, and loss of muscle mass in the legs.
Other symptoms include open sores on the feet and legs that do not heal and toe skin turning cold, numb and red in colour or beginning to swell and produce smelly pus.
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A blood test will show the total cholesterol in the blood, including the levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Dr Firoozi said: “Your GP might refer you to have a blood test to check your cholesterol levels if they feel you are at risk.
“This will be based on your age, weight, smoking status, if you have diabetes, or whether there is a family history of high cholesterol or heart problems.
“You may also be tested for raised cholesterol if you have heart disease such as coronary artery disease or a history of stroke.”
Cholesterol levels can be reduced through a person’s diet and exercise.
The NHS advise cutting down on fatty food with a focus on reducing those with saturated fat which is common in meat pies, sausages, butter, ghee, cream, cakes biscuits and hard cheese such as Cheddar.