How Does High Cholesterol Harm Your Legs?

Cholesterol is a waxy sort of substance that looks like the fat that is produced by your liver. You should know that cholesterol production is essential for the body as it helps in forming the cell membranes, some vital hormones, and vitamin D. it is essential for you to learn that cholesterol is the substance that is not dissolved in the water, and this is the reason that it cannot travel in the body by itself only.

Lipoproteins are the name particles that help in transporting cholesterol through the bloodstream of the human body. There are mainly two kinds of lipoproteins that are found in the body. The first one is low-density lipoproteins, and the second one is high-density lipoproteins.

Can High Cholesterol Affect The Legs?

The low-density lipoproteins are called bad cholesterol, which can be built up in the human body’s arteries, and it can lead to some severe health issues that are heart attack or stroke also. On the other hand, the high-density lipoproteins, also known as good cholesterol, helps in returning the low-density cholesterol to the liver so that it can be eliminated.

When you eat too much food that contains a higher level of fat, it increases the level of the low-density lipoproteins in the bloodstream. It is the time when doctors tell you that you have a high cholesterol level in your body. High cholesterol is also called hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia.

How Does High Cholesterol Harm Your Legs

When the level of the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is very high, or the level of high-density lipoprotein is deficient, then the fat deposit starts to build upon the blood vessels of your body. You will be shocked to know that these deposits make it very difficult to flow enough blood through your arteries. So, it can be a problem for your body, and it will mainly affect the health of your brain and heart.

There is no secret in the thing that having a high level of cholesterol is something that can easily lead to clogging the arteries. It is the reason that is why cholesterol can be a reason for the increase in the risk of having a heart attack. You need to know that a heart attack happens when the tissues of the heart have a decrease of the much-needed component of life, which is oxygen.

The one thing that you might not be aware of is that the health authorities have referred to the clogging of the arteries because of one more disease is called peripheral artery disease (PAD). Some of the arteries included which can get affected because of this disease are the one which provides the blood to the legs.

It is one of the main reasons that having a high cholesterol level can harm your legs in so many ways. So, if you want to know about some of the leg-related problems which can occur because of high cholesterol levels and PAD, then you are suggested to read this article till the end.

Pain in the legs!

You need to know that one of the main symptoms of high cholesterol or PAD is pain in the legs. This kind of pain starts to occur when you engage in some kind of physical activities in which the legs are used, like walking, running, and even when you climb the stairs. It is essential for you to understand that the doctors also call it the claudication and the pain which is caused on the legs because of the high cholesterol level go away when you take a break from the activity which you are doing.

Pain in the legs

You should know that some of the people who have leg pain because of high cholesterol also states that they feel tiredness, heaviness, and burning sensation in either one of the legs or both of the legs. The matter of fact is that the pain can start to happen in any part of the leg, and sometimes it is so extreme.

Coldness in feet!

Another symptom of high cholesterol levels affecting your legs is that the temperature of your feet starts to become low. When you touch the feet of a person who is suffering from a high cholesterol level, then those feet will feel cold. Well, this is not at all a surprising fact, but it is an obvious thing because when there is high cholesterol, then the arteries are not able to carry enough blood to the part of your legs.

This starts to happen when you are suffering from PAD because of the high cholesterol. Your feet will feel cold very quickly when you are suffering from this disease. When these feet are cold, then it becomes difficult to walk correctly.

Leg cramps at night!

At the time of sleeping people who suffer from the high cholesterol level also get so many cramps or the spasms in legs. These sorts of cramps start to occur in the heel, forefoot, and toe areas. This pain can be relieved if you dangle the foot off your bed or you try to sit on a chair for a while. When your legs are in the downward position, then gravity allows the blood to flow in the feet area, and the cramps can be treated. The legs cramps in the night are also one of the symptoms of high cholesterol levels of the body.

Leg cramps at night

Change in the color of skin!

When the cholesterol is high in your body, then the blood circulation in the lower extremities is less, and this is the result of clogging of the arteries. So, this is the reason that there is a change in the color of the skin of your feet. The color change can depend mainly on the position of your legs also.

For example, when you elevate your legs that it can cause your skin to look pale, and while you are dangling it from the table, then it can make your skin color look purplish or bluish. The person who is suffering from a high cholesterol level might also notice that their toes look pale in color when they are sitting down for a significant period of time.

Change in the color of skin

Sores that don’t heal!

It is essential for you to know that one of the main issues which arise when a person has a high cholesterol level is sores. Yes, you have heard me right. Sores start to appear on your legs, and it is a sign of having high cholesterol levels in your body and the poor circulation of blood to your legs.

These sores can prove to be very painful if they are not handled in the right way. The sores which are associated with a higher level of diabetes will not seem to be painful because the people who suffer from diabetes also have damage in their peripheral nerves, which causes sensation loss in the area of feet as well as in some other parts of your legs.

Change in the color of toenail!

The toenail is also a vital part of our body. They also need the required amount of oxygen and nutrients to be supplied for staying healthy. But when there is a high cholesterol level, then it can give harm to our legs, and it decreases the circulation of blood to the legs. So, it is pretty sure that the change in the color and appearance of the toenail will occur.

Your toenail can appear bluish or pale, which can depend on the position of your legs. Some of the experts have also specified that high cholesterol also led to the slower growth of toenails. Your nails can also become thickened, and they look as if you have a fungal infection.

Numbness in the legs!

If you notice that your legs to feet are feeling numb while you are taking rest, then it can also be a symptom of high cholesterol. Some of the patients with high cholesterol levels say that their legs have become weaker, and they feel a number at the time of resting. Some people get numbness in the legs after taking a walk or doing some sort of physical activity. You will be shocked to hear that according to too the doctors, the people who have the symptoms of numbness in the legs while resting can appear to be a more severe case of PAD.

Numbness in the legs

Death of tissues of legs!

You need to know that about 80 percent of the people with PAD have never progressed beyond having the milder symptoms. But the thing is that this small minority of people can suffer some extreme level of symptoms of high cholesterol. It is essential for you to keep in mind that in the advanced stages, the high cholesterol disease can also lead to the death of the tissue, and it can also gangrene, which can prove to be life-threatening.

In some cases, the high cholesterol level and the PAD can also lead to amputation. But the thing is that if the patient quits smoking, starts to eat healthily, swears to take all the medication and to have a bypass can help in improving the blood circulation to the leg area.

The problem of erectile dysfunction!

Some people think that it is not so common thing, but it is quite possible for a person who has high cholesterol to get erectile dysfunction. You need to know that the internal iliac arteries are the ones that provide the supply of blood for the purpose of erections.

But if both of these are closed, and are severely clogged, then it can lead to erectile dysfunction. According to the health care specialist, the patients who are suffering from the ED because of the basilar problem are only a minority of them. They say that they don’t see many cases like that, but it can prove to be a vascular-related problem.

Reduction in the size of the calf muscle!

People who are suffering from a very high level of PAD also experience a reduction in the size of the calf muscle. If we consider it on the microscopic level, then the lack of required blood flow can lead to a decrease in the size as well as the number of muscle fibers. You should know that those people who have a severe level of PAD can even lose more than half of the fibers of their muscle in the area that is affected. The muscle fibers which are remaining also tend to reduce in size by the period of time.

Reduction in the size of the calf muscle

The final takeaway!

Most of the people who are suffering from high cholesterol don’t even suffer from any of the above-mentioned symptoms. But the thing is that the people with a high risk of PAD might also want to be get tested. This is because this is the type of disease that can immensely increase the chance of you having a heart attack or suffering from a stroke.

It is crucial for you to know that PAD is the type of disease that is much likely to appear in smokers, people who are over the age of 50, and people who have a strong family history of having heart disease. These are the people who are at a higher risk of getting high cholesterol levels and PAD disease.

By now, you might have got enough amount of information regarding the topic of how the high cholesterol level can provide harm to your legs. There are literally a lot of ways by which the high level of cholesterol can give so much harm to our legs. You should know that the high cholesterol can also get controlled or managed if you are having a completely healthy diet, doing exercise on a regular basis, and maintaining the level of your cholesterol level by getting them checked by the doctor. You should always meet with your doctor to get your cholesterol level checked. It will help you in taking the right and required precautions and medications for the treatment and management of the cholesterol level.

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