This is the first noticeable symptom of high cholesterol

High cholesterol can cause symptoms of peripheral artery disease to develop in your legs and feet.

This is the first noticeable symptom of high cholesterol
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This is the first noticeable symptom of high cholesterol

Your body needs cholesterol to function properly. But like most things, too much of it could be detrimental to your health. In the case of cholesterol, high levels could form plaques in your arteries –blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. High cholesterol is considered a silent killer as it hardly presents with symptoms, but left unchecked, could cause stroke, heart attack among other chronic diseases.

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Spasm as a sign of high cholesterol

Although people with high cholesterol do not exhibit symptoms in the early stages of the disease, the plaque build-up (made of cholesterol and fats) can reduce the flow of blood to your heart and brain, resulting in a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), Cleveland Clinic explains. This condition can result in chest pain with exertion, jaw pain and shortness of breath.

One common sign of PAD is leg spasms - a sudden involuntary muscular contraction that can feel like a clenched muscle. According to the health portal:

You may notice the pain in your calf, but you may also feel it in your buttocks or thighs. The pain can be severe enough to limit your ability to participate in activities you enjoy, such as golfing or chasing after grandchildren.
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Getty/ Liudmila Chernetska

Other signs of PAD

Just like high cholesterol, PAD does not present with many symptoms so the best way to check for it is through blood test. However, some of these signs which could be symptoms of other conditions, should prompt you to get checked up.

  • A burning or aching pain in your feet and toes while resting, especially at night when
  • When you notice your feet feel cool
  • Sudden and unexplained change in your skin colour
  • Getting infections more frequently than before
  • Sores on toes and feet that don’t heal

When you do get tested for high cholesterol, and it comes back as high, there are things you can do to manage it including medication, healthier diet, quitting smoking and regular exercise.

Sources used:

Express.co.uk: Spasms could be the 'first noticeable symptom' of cholesterol clogging your arteries

Cleveland Clinic: Hyperlipidemia

Health.com: How High Cholesterol Can Affect Your Legs and Feet

High cholesterol: This symptom could lead to amputation, doctors warn High cholesterol: This symptom could lead to amputation, doctors warn