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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High cholesterol – a precursor to heart disease – does not usually present symptoms. This makes it highly pernicious. However, people with familial hypercholesterolaemia can experience symptoms. Familial hypercholesterolaemia is a genetic condition where you have exceptionally high levels of cholesterol in your blood.

A case report published in the BMJ Case Reports charts the “extensive” impact familial hypercholesterolaemia symptoms can have on the body.

During a health evaluation, a 37-year-old man was found to have several swellings in the knee region.

The report showed nodules with numerous cholesterol deposits, which was suggestive of tuberous xanthomas.

Tuberous xanthomas are firm, painless, red-yellow fatty deposits that develop over pressure areas such as the knees, elbows, and heels.

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On further inquiry, the man revealed that he’d had multiple swellings around the elbow, hip, vermox lффke knee, and ankle areas since childhood.

He had “extensive” multiple large, globular, non-tender, soft to firm swellings around the knee, ankle, elbow and small joints of the feet, the case report states.

He also confirmed that his elder sister has similar swellings.

Nevertheless, his father died at the age of 30 years but the exact cause of death is not known.

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The man also had thickening and widening of the Achilles tendons in both the legs.

What’s more, the man was showing corneal arcus, also known as arcus senilis, which is characterised by cholesterol deposits that form as a white or grey “arc” around the cornea.

After further examination, the patient was diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolaemia.

He was given 40 mg of atorvastatin as part of his treatment regimen.

Atorvastatin is a type of statin – a class of drugs that bring down high cholesterol levels.

Are you at risk of familial hypercholesterolaemia?

If you have very high cholesterol levels or if you’ve had high cholesterol from birth, you may have familial hypercholesterolaemia, explains the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

According to the BHF, around one in 250 of the UK population has the condition, although many people are unaware they have it.

FH is not easy to diagnose. Your doctor may suspect familial hypercholesterolaemia if:

  • A routine blood test shows you have a high cholesterol level
  • You have a heart attack or stroke, especially if it happens at a young age
  • Other members of your family have a history of premature heart disease or stroke, or
  • Other members of your family have been diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolaemia.

General tips to lower high cholesterol

You can lower your cholesterol by eating healthily and getting more exercise.

“To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat,” advises the NHS.

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats and cheese.

You can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat, notes the NHS.

Try to eat more:

  • Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
  • Brown rice, bread and pasta
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables.

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