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I’m a doctor – this is the tell-tale sign on your TOES that shows you’ve got high cholesterol


I’m a doctor – this is the telltale sign on your toes that indicates you have high cholesterol

  • Dr. Sami Firoozi has revealed how to tell toes if your cholesterol is high
  • The Harley Street cardiologist says the symptom is caused by fatty arteries

It is a condition that affects about 60 percent of adults.

But many people are completely unaware that they have high cholesterol.

While there are often no obvious symptoms, there is one telltale sign to watch for — and it has to do with your toes.

High cholesterol, which is when your blood has too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol, can cause peripheral air disease (PAD).

And Dr. Sami Firoozi, a cardiologist consultant at the Harley Street Clinic, shared HuffPost that PAD can cause your toenails to become brittle or grow slowly.

Dr. Sami Firoozi, cardiologist consultant at the Harley Street Clinic, said PAD can cause your toenails to become brittle or grow slowly (file photo)

PAD is where fatty plaque builds up in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which restricts blood flow to your legs.

PAD, also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD), can lead to poor blood flow to your toenails — meaning there isn’t enough oxygen or nutrients to stimulate nail growth.

While the disease can occur in any blood vessel, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s most common in the legs.

Other symptoms of PAD to look for include hair loss on your legs and feet, numb or weak legs, open wounds that don’t heal and shiny skin, according to the NHS.

Your skin may also change color slightly and become paler than usual, but this may be more difficult to see on brown or black skin.

Cholesterol is vital for the normal functioning of the body, including building cells and making hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone.

But having too much of it can block your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.

High levels are mainly caused by eating fatty foods, not getting enough exercise, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol – but it can also run in families.

The condition itself has no symptoms and can only be detected by taking a blood test.

Cholesterol is made in the liver and is carried by proteins in the blood and can be roughly divided into two types.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) transports cholesterol from cells to the liver where it is broken down or disposed of as waste. This is called “good cholesterol.”

“Bad cholesterol,” low-density lipoprotein (LDL), transports cholesterol into cells, with excessive amounts accumulating in the artery walls.

A diet high in animal fats such as butter, processed meats such as bacon and coconut oil can increase your bad cholesterol.

Statins, a group of drugs that can lower LDL, are one of the main ways to treat high cholesterol and an estimated 7 to 8 million people in the UK take them, and 35 million in the US.

But the NHS says lifestyle changes can also help reduce it, such as eating less fat, exercising more, stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol.

What are Statins?

Statins are a group of drugs that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.

High levels of LDL cholesterol are potentially dangerous as it can lead to hardening and narrowing of the arteries, a key factor in cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK.

A doctor may recommend the use of statins if:

Research has suggested that about one in 50 people who take statins for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.

There are 5 types of prescription statins available in the UK:

  • atorvastatin (Lipitor)
  • fluvastatin (Lescol)
  • pravastatin (Lipostat)
  • rosuvastatin (Crestor)
  • simvastatin (Zocor)

However, the medication is not without controversy.

Some people argue that the side effects of statins, such as headaches, muscle aches, and nausea, and that statins may also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and vision problems or memory loss, are not worth the potential benefits.

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