High Cholesterol May Be Affecting Your Legs


High cholesterol levels can be life-threatening and often called a – “silent killer”.  What makes it too dangerous is that there are usually no visible signs of high cholesterol in the body until the levels have gone out of hand. 

Unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle cause high levels of cholesterol in the body. This is because the fat is not being broken down by exercise. When the fat is not broken down, it builds up and ‘coagulates’ in various transport routes within the body, forming plaques. The arteries are the first to be targeted. The arteries are narrowed down and the flow of blood to various organs of the body becomes insufficient. This is called arteriosclerosis


Subtle Symptoms Caused by High Cholesterol

As a result of the narrowing of the arteries, blood flow from and to the heart becomes less optimal, leading to various heart diseases.

Apart from the heart, narrowed and hardened arteries prevent the sufficient flow of blood to the legs. When this happens, it is called peripheral arterial disease. The first signs include pain while walking that goes away with rest. As the situation progresses, other symptoms like discoloration of the feet and toenails appear. There may also be a loss of hair from the legs. This happens because there are fewer nutrients and oxygen to feed the cells around those areas.

Leg discoloration as a result of insufficient blood flow.

There may be cramping in the heel or toes which gets worse at night or while lying down.. However, moving the leg around or walking provides relief by letting gravity help blood flow to the legs.


When symptoms appear

There are many reasons why the legs may  become painful or feel sick. It is advisable to visit the doctor when any of the symptoms discussed here arises or when there is discomfort in the legs for no known cause.

Early detection of high cholesterol in the blood is beneficial to reduce the risks associated with it. It is also easier to treat if detected early.


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