High cholesterol: 11 body parts affected by eruptive xanthomatosis warning of high levels

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Having high cholesterol can go undetected in many people for a number of years until it is too late. Around 10 percent of people however, will experience small bumps on the skin warning their levels are too high. Why does this occur?

Eruptive xanthomatosis (EX) causes small bumps to appear on the skin and are also known as eruptive xanthomas.

These bumps are sometimes referred to as lesions, papules, plaques, or a rash.

This rare skin condition happens when you have too much fat or cholesterol in your blood.

The bumps are filled with fat and can sometimes be a yellow colour.

The growths tend to feel very soft, with a yellow/orange colour.

These xanthomas may be isolated, individual growths, or they may develop in clusters.

They vary in size, but can reach up to three inches each, and may appear anywhere on the body.

If you notice any xanthomas on your body, you should speak to a doctor straight away.

EX is usually found on the back of your arms such as around your elbows and on the back of your thighs, buttocks, and legs.

They can also show up around a person’s eyes.

Other body parts which may be affected include:

  • Stomach
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Knees
  • Face
  • Scalp

“A high level of cholesterol in the blood doesn’t have obvious symptoms, but it can increase your risk for conditions that do have symptoms, including angina [chest pain caused by heart disease], high blood pressure, stroke, and other circulatory ailments,” said medical website WebMD.

“Soft, yellowish growths or lesions on the skin called xanthomas may indicate a genetic predisposition to cholesterol problems.

“Call your doctor about heart disease if you detect soft, yellowish skin growths on yourself or on your children.

“Ask about being tested for high cholesterol.”

How to lower your levels and reduce serious health risks

One of the best ways to lower your cholesterol is to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat.

According to the NHS, foods high in saturated fat include:

Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat

Butter, lard and ghee

Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar

Cakes and biscuits

Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil

As the health body points out, you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.

In fact, many unsaturated fats can be found in the Mediterranean diet, which has been consistently linked to heart health.

Mediterranean diet is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.

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