High cholesterol: The ‘early symptom’ of plaque build-up in your calf, buttocks or thighs

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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The NHS notes that PAD is a common condition where a build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries restricts blood supply. It says the condition is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits, which are made up of cholesterol and “other waste substances”. In some instances, signs of PAD can show up on your calf, buttocks or thighs.

The NHS says that more than two in five people in England have high cholesterol “which puts them at significant risk of developing heart disease”.

The Cleveland Clinic says that half of the people who have developed PAD don’t have any symptoms, but pain or discomfort in their legs is a common symptom.

It notes: “You may also feel weak or tired while walking. Affected parts of your leg may include your calves, thighs or buttocks.

“PAD can build up over a lifetime, and the symptoms may not become obvious until later in life.”

Indeed, the health body says that for many people, the outward symptoms won’t appear until their arteries have narrowed by 60 percent or more.

Nonetheless, the first noticeable symptom of PAD may be “intermittent claudication” which is “leg discomfort, pain or cramping that develops with activity, is relieved with rest, and recurs upon resuming activity”.

The Cleveland Clinic adds: “Intermittent claudication symptoms may also include numbness, weakness, heaviness or fatigue in the leg muscles when walking that are relieved at rest.”

The health organisation says that pain can be severe enough to interfere with normal walking.

It notes: “This type of cyclical pain is caused by reduced blood flow to the leg muscles and goes away at rest because the muscles require less blood flow at rest.”

It also suggests other symptoms of advanced PAD may include “a burning or aching pain in the feet and toes while resting, especially at night while lying flat”.

You may also experience cool skin in the feet, redness or other colour changes of the skin, increased occurrence of infection, or a toe and foot sores that do not heal.

The NHS states: “The symptoms of PAD often develop slowly, over time. If your symptoms develop quickly, or get suddenly worse, it could be a sign of a serious problem requiring immediate treatment.”

It adds that around 6.5 million adults in England are currently taking lipid-lowering drugs such as statins.

Statins are the most common medicine for high cholesterol, according to the health service, and work by reducing the amount of cholesterol your body makes.

Statins lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, which is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, and statins reduce the production of it inside the liver.

You usually have to continue taking statins for life because if you stop taking them, your cholesterol will return to a high level within a few weeks.

The NHS says that there are five types of statin available on prescription in the UK. They include atorvastatin, fluvastatin pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin.

The NHS notes that many people who take statins experience no or very few side effects, though others will experience “some troublesome, but usually minor, side effects, such as diarrhoea, a headache or feeling sick”.

It notes that a review of scientific studies into the effectiveness of statins found around one in every 50 people who take the medicine for five years will avoid a serious event, such as a heart attack or stroke, as a result.

The UK government says: “All effective medicines can cause side effects in some patients and a small proportion of patients taking statins will inevitably experience side effects.

“Although they may be distressing to the individual concerned and limit that individual’s willingness or ability to tolerate statin use, statin-related side effects are generally mild and not medically serious.”

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