High cholesterol may show up as yellow area around eyes

This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol

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High cholesterol levels can be dangerous to live with. When levels of “bad” cholesterol build up in your blood, your risk of serious conditions including stroke and heart disease drastically hikes. There aren’t usually any direct signs of high cholesterol but there are a few physical changes as part of conditions that have been linked to high cholesterol – including changes around your eyes.

According to the NHS, one of the best ways to spot high cholesterol is by receiving a test.

The charity Heart UK recommends that everybody receives a cholesterol test. Tests are freely available specifically for people aged 40 to 74, or people at high risk of heart disease.

People that already know they have high cholesterol can also receive a free test on the NHS.

As well as getting a test, the development of a flat or raised, yellowish area around the eyes or nose can be a sign of high cholesterol.

This change, known as Xanthelasma, is caused by cholesterol deposits.

Cleveland Clinic notes on their website that xanthelasmas point toward the fact that the chances of developing high cholesterol “in the future” are “very high”.

According to the health body, the development of xanthelasmas can also be a warning of a future heart attack, heart disease, and atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is where the arteries become clogged up by fatty substances – known as plaques or atheromas.

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) explained that “up to half of those with xanthelasma have high cholesterol. But the other half have normal cholesterol”.

The yellow deposits can also be caused by inflammation.

There are other physical symptoms around the body that indirectly point to having high cholesterol, including in your feet and legs.

A condition called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), which is thought to be genetic, is another cause of high cholesterol that shows symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic explained that like xanthelasma, FH can cause cholesterol deposits to pop up around the body.

It said: “The most common spots for cholesterol deposits to occur is on the hands, elbows, and knees.

“They also can occur in the skin around the eyes.”

The buildup of cholesterol as part of the condition may also cause the Achilles tendon to thicken – as well as tendons on your hand.

Signs of high cholesterol may also appear in your legs as a painful sensation.

If cholesterol levels have grown so much that they’re starting to restrict your blood flow in your legs, it can cause a condition called critical limb ischaemia.

The NHS explained that the pain is a “severe burning” in your legs and feet. It’s worth noting that this is a serious complication and may need to be treated immediately.

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