High cholesterol is often caused by eating fatty food or being overweight. It occurs when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Fortunately, many people can lower their cholesterol by eating healthily, and making lifestyle changes. In the rare instance where it causes symptoms to arise, you may notice a sign on the back of your hand.
Doctor Jess Braid, qualified medical doctor, noted that although high cholesterol rarely causes any symptoms or signs, unless it is severe, there are some signs.
The first time many people find they have high cholesterol is on a routine blood test, but for some people xanthelasma may occur.
She suggested that fatty deposits around your eyes, like yellowish lumps, are called xanthelasma.
They can also occur “in your tendons often on the back of your hand”.
You may also spot ”a grey line running in the coloured part of your eye,” though these signs may not always be present, noted doctor Braid.
She suggested that you need to wait to have signs to get your cholesterol checked.
Indeed, family history of high cholesterol or heart attacks or strokes at a young age, smoking, drinking over the recommended amount of alcohol, a diet high in processed food, excess weight or having a raised or borderline raised blood sugar “are the best reasons to have your cholesterol checked as these are the most significant risk factors”.
She noted: “There are also many lifestyle changes you can make to address your cholesterol if it is raised, working alongside your GP and medication if needed.
“The breakdown of your cholesterol test and the ratios of the different types of cholesterol can actually be more important predictors of heart disease and stroke than your total cholesterol and your blood sugar and any markers of inflammation are also extremely important.”
Changing what you eat, being more active, and stopping smoking can help get your cholesterol back to a healthy level.
The NHS says: “To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat.
“You can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.”
Indeed, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) has outlined “a few small changes to your diet” which it says “can make a big difference to your cholesterol level”.
The BDA says: “Compare labels and choose foods with green or amber labels for ‘saturates’.”
Foods are high, red, in saturated fat if they contain more than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.
Foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are low, green, in saturated fat.
Nonetheless, the BDA notes: “Some healthy foods that are high in fat like oily fish, nuts and oils, may be red for saturated fat. This is okay, as they contain more of the healthy unsaturated fat.”