High cholesterol describes the widespread presence of fatty molecules in the blood. Often these fatty deposits adhere to the arterial walls, causing a narrowing of the passageways that disrupt blood flow. Any artery in the body can become affected, even those leading to the bowels.
Atherosclerosis, referring to the hardening of the arteries, is the end result of high cholesterol that has been poorly managed.
Sometimes this narrowing of the arteries affects the blood supply to the intestines, spleen and liver.
MedStar Health explains: “Intestinal peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when there is a blockage in one of the vessels supplying blood to the intestines of the bowel.
“If left untreated, blood flow can decrease and the delicate tissues can be damaged.”
The result of hindered blood flow to the bowel could result in urgent and bloody bowel movements, according to the Vascular Center.
Often patients will experience an urgent need to have a bowel movement or experience frequent and forceful bowel movements.
The health body adds that the following signs are also frequently encountered:
- Frequent vomiting
- Abdominal drop in blood pressure
- High white blood cell count
- Acidosis, the build-up of hydrogen in the blood.
The health body adds: “If an artery to the intestines becomes acutely blocked, the primary symptom is severe and widespread abdominal pain.”
It continues: “Immediate diagnosis and emergency treatment of this life-threatening condition are required.”
It’s important to note that the first part of the body to sustain arterial clogging from plaque is the lower back.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, warns: “The arteries leading to the lower back are among the first in the body to accumulate plaque and show signs of blockage.
“In fact, 10 percent of Americans already experience advanced blockages in these arteries by age 20.”
Another common site for signs of artery-clogging is the lower limbs, as the legs require more oxygen due to physical exertion.
As the blood flow decreases to the limbs, symptoms of claudication are bound to affect the legs during physical exertion.
At first, an individual may experience pain exclusively during exercise, but as the condition advances pain may start to affect the body when it’s at rest too.
How to prevent high cholesterol
A healthy lifestyle is the best antidote for high cholesterol, particularly one that comprises a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Hopkins Medicine explains: “A healthy diet, losing weight, being physically active and not smoking, cancer help reduce your risk of atherosclerosis.
“A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leant meats, skinless chicken, head and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.”
Regular exercise, on the other hand, improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and protects the heart against complications from arterial clogging.
Exercising most days of the week is recommended for achieving these health benefits.