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High cholesterol: ‘Yellowish growths’ is a warning sign says the CDC – what to look for

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Health Feed

If you’re warned about having high cholesterol levels, implicit in that warning is a specific type of cholesterol. The fatty substance, which is found in our blood, keeps our cells healthy. However, LDL cholesterol, also referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, can build up inside the walls of the blood vessels – a process that contributed to heart disease.

High cholesterol is pernicious because it does not usually produce any outward signs.

“You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too late – when you have a heart attack or stroke,” warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, some people develop yellowish growths on their skin called xanthomas, which are cholesterol-rich deposits, explains the CDC.

“People with xanthomas may have high cholesterol levels,” it adds.

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How to diagnose high cholesterol

Unfortunately, most people will not experience symptoms of high cholesterol, so the only way to measure blood cholesterol levels is to get a blood test.

“Your GP or practice nurse will take a blood sample, usually by pricking your finger or you might be asked to go for a blood test at your local hospital,” explains the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

According to the BHF, your blood is then checked for levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, bad (non-HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of blood fat), as well as getting a total cholesterol result.

HDL cholesterol is often dubbed the “good” cholesterol because it counters the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol.

Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Pies
  • Fried foods
  • Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter.

Instead, you should aim to follow a Mediterranean-style diet, advises the NHS.

This means eating more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish, and less meat.

“Replace butter and cheese with products based on vegetable and plant oil, such as olive oil,” adds the NHS.

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