High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol means you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood vessels. When this builds up it can lead to blockages in the vessels. These blockages can eventually break away leading to blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Although it can be hard to know if you have high cholesterol, according to opticians Allegro Optical, changes in both the retina and cornea could be a giveaway.
They explain that “some retinal anomalies could indicate a possible cholesterol problem”.
They said: “If our optometrists observe these or other changes they may recommend having your cholesterol levels checked.
“They may also refer you, with your permission for further investigation.”
A “white ring” around the cornea can also be linked to cholesterol.
“During an eye test, our optometrists will study the front surface of your eye including your cornea,” they added.
“This part of your eye is the dome-shaped, clear structure in front of your iris.
“You may have noticed a white ring around the outer edge of your cornea, k tipp voltaren but the colour change may also appear as if your iris has some discolouration.”
However, they added: “This white ring is called an arcus and it may appear without the presence of high cholesterol.
“An arcus can appear as part of the natural ageing process of the eye, but anyone, whatever their age can develop an arcus from high cholesterol levels.”
Although some people can be more likely to have high cholesterol due to their genetics, the NHS says “it’s mainly caused by eating fatty food, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol.”
Some patients will need to take medication to lower their cholesterol while others will be told to eat a healthier diet and exercise more.
The NHS advises: “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.”
Some of the best foods to eat to lower cholesterol include:
- oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- brown rice, bread and pasta
- nuts and seeds
- fruits and vegetables
It is also recommended to stop smoking and cutting back on alcohol to reduce your risk of high cholesterol.
“Smoking can raise your cholesterol and make you more likely to have serious problems like heart attacks, strokes and cancer,” the NHS says.
It adds: “Try to: avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week, have several drink-free days each week and avoid drinking lots of alcohol in a short time (binge drinking).”
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