The sooner you find out that you have cholesterol, the sooner you can treat it and reduce the extent of the damage it causes.
There are a number of medical issues that, when ignored, start building up and start opening up a range of other serious diseases. High cholesterol is one such issue. These fat deposits start clinging to your blood vessels and gradually accumulate and grow, which prevents blood from flowing normally through your arteries, according to Mayo Clinic. Though there are a host of issues, you may even experience a heart attack or a stroke when these deposits suddenly break and lead to a clot.
An unlikely way that high cholesterol shows through is your legs. Here are a few indicators that your legs give which indicate that you need to get your cholesterol levels checked.
High cholesterol can give rise to a condition that's known as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. As a result of PAD, you might notice that your legs start cramping at night, or you experience spasms in your sleep. Darren Schneider, MD pointed out that you might experience this in your heel, forefoot, or toes, according to Health. What you can try doing when this happens is by letting your foot dangle off the bed. If this doesn't work, try sitting on a chair to improve blood circulation.
When you notice that your feet feel unusually cold, it could be because of the high levels of cholesterol. Because of high cholesterol, plaque starts forming in your arteries and this hampers blood circulation. And your feet might feel cold when the blood circulation to your legs and your feet is compromised, according to Medical News Today.
As high cholesterol progresses and the effects of PAD take over your body, you might notice that you have sores or ulcers developing on your toes, feet, or your legs. You might also notice that these sores don't heal so easily. The foot ulcers might cause pain and are likely to be brown or black in color.
When you start noticing that both your skin and your nails are changing together, it could be a cause for concern. If you notice that your skin appears shiny and seems tighter, or that your nails have become thicker. It's also likely that you notice your nails growing much slower than usual, or that the hair on your legs grow back slower than usual after you shave.
Even when you're resting or despite not having done anything unusual, it could be worrying when you notice numbness or weakness in your legs. Dr. Schneider said, "Some patients will just say their legs get weak and feel like they will give out, and some get numbness in their feet."
The pain in your leg can be so severe that it hampers the everyday things that you do. Dr. Sherry Scovell said that PAD "inhibits all of your activities. One of the main complaints I hear is that people can't even go grocery shopping anymore because of pain associated with walking," according to Harvard Health Publishing.
When the flow of blood is restricted to your blood, this can cause what's known as atrophy of the muscles in your calf. What happens, in this case, is that the size of your muscle starts reducing because your muscle fiber starts going down. You might even see that your muscle has shrunk to less than half its size in extreme cases.
Men with high cholesterol or PAD may experience Erectile Dysfunction (ED) when the blood supply is hampered. When the arteries that provide the required blood supply for erects get severely clogged, it can lead to men experiencing ED.
It's also possible that you experience a change in your skin color. When you check your legs or feet for a pulse but can't feel one, or you feel a very weak pulse, this could also be one of the effects.