High cholesterol: Do your nails look a certain way? Danger signs your levels are too high

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Everyone has cholesterol, a yellowy-white wax-like lipid (aka fat) that’s in every cell of your body. Cholesterol keeps your cells and organs working properly. It also plays a major role in hormone, vitamin, and digestive fluid production. For a person who has too much cholesterol, however, dangerous health consequences may ensue. Your nails can tell a person a lot about their current health status including if they are at risk of having high cholesterol.

According to Medicover Hospitals, black or reddish-brown spots on your nails can signal high cholesterol levels.

“The condition is caused by small, damaged blood vessels under the nail,” explains the health site.

The black or reddish-brown spots have the following distinguishing characteristics:

Do not change appearance when you apply pressure to the nail

Appear in one or more places under the nail.

As Medicover Hospitals explains, an accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels of the nails can cause this damage.

However, in most cases, you can only find out if you have it from a blood test.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), splinter haemorrhages are a warning sign you’re at risk of heart disease.

Splinter haemorrhages are lines that often look like a splinter stuck under the nail.

Damage to blood vessels along the nail bed can trigger bleeding underneath the nail.

An accumulation of cholesterol in the blood vessels of the fingernails can cause this damage.

“When it’s a sign of heart disease, people tend to have symptoms, such as high fever and a weak or irregular heartbeat,” adds AAD.

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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) happens when cholesterol accumulations prevent blood from getting to your kidneys, stomach, and limbs with a sign found in your nails including thickened toenails.

Healthy nails should be smooth and have a consistent colour.

If changes occur to your nails, it is only one possible symptom and should be properly evaluated before a definitive diagnosis is made. 

Nail change, and some of those changes are totally benign.

Others can indicate a disorder or condition that you might want to discuss with your healthcare professional.

Men and women can learn a lot from noticing the colour, thickness, ridges, and any other changes to their fingernails. 

How to lower your cholesterol levels

A major analysis of several controlled trials involving hundreds of men and women found that dietary changes reduced LDL and total cholesterol while exercise alone had no effect on either. 

Participants in the studies followed a variety of diets, from Mediterranean to low-fat to low-calorie.

However, the most effective diets substituted foods with the power to lower cholesterol for those that boost cholesterol.
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