High cholesterol symptoms: The warning sign on your face that can become ‘more numerous’

Why cholesterol is bad for you

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Raised cholesterol is usually caused by lifestyle habits like eating too much fatty food and not exercising enough. This causes cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels, potentially blocking them. If this occurs it can lead to heart problems and strokes.

Most people won’t know they have high cholesterol until they have a blood test.

Your GP will suggest taking one if they think you are at risk due to factors such as your age, weight or conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

However, according to skincare experts Skinsight, there is a certain condition that is “often seen” among people with high cholesterol levels.

It explains: “Xanthelasma is a skin condition that develops flat yellow growths on the eyelids.

“Xanthelasma is often seen in people with high cholesterol or other fat (lipid) levels in the blood, and the lesions contain deposits that are high in fat (lipid-rich).

“Approximately one half of patients with xanthelasma have high amounts of fats (lipids) in their blood, such as high cholesterol or high triglycerides.

“Xanthelasma appears as a yellow-to-orange patch or bump.

“Ranging in size from two to 30mm, xanthelasma is flat-surfaced and has distinct borders (well-defined).”

It warns: “Once present, xanthelasma does not usually go away on its own.

“In fact, lesions frequently grow larger and more numerous.”

It is most commonly found on:

  • One or both upper eyelids, especially near the nose
  • One or both lower eyelids.

The condition is not usually itchy or tender, and often develops in middle age.

Doctors will initially recommend lifestyle changes to lower fat in the blood as a way of treating the condition.

The NHS advises:

  • Eating less fatty foods
  • Exercising more
  • Giving up smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol.

Foods that can increase cholesterol levels include meat pies, sausages and fatty meat, butter, lard and ghee, cream and hard cheese, like cheddar, and cakes and biscuits.

And some foods that can reduce levels are:

  • Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
  • Brown rice, bread and pasta
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables.

If this does not get rid of the xanthelasma there are cosmetic procedures available such as laser removal, surgical excision and freezing with liquid nitrogen.

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