A high amount of “bad” cholesterol is similar to a ticking time bomb since the damage that will occur can be anticipated. Cholesterol does not set off any explosions, but the fatty substance can lead to serious health concerns such as heart disease and stroke if it is allowed to build up in the body. The good news is that a “cyclical” discomfort is one of the warning signs that cholesterol is building up in your arteries and can alert you to the problem.
When “bad” cholesterol begins to build up in your arteries, a waxy material called plaque can begin to form and eventually cause your arteries to become constricted.
These kinds of narrow and stiff arteries take a toll on the flow of blood through your body and inhibit the normal movements.
Certain parts of your body may be affected, which may result in the “first noticeable” symptom, which is referred to as “cyclical pain.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the defining characteristics of this type of pain is that it worsens with activity.
If the pain goes away when you give your muscles a rest, this is another indication that you are dealing with cyclical pain.
The difference in intensity of this discomfort depending on whether you are active or resting can be attributed to the circulation of blood in your body.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, once cholesterol has taken over your arteries and restricted the ability of blood to circulate, it can cause a condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD), which is considered a “common” problem.
The cyclical discomfort that you feel in your legs is one of the “first noticeable” symptoms of PAD.
The health portal explains you can also experience discomfort, pain or cramping that:
- Develops with activity
- Goes away with rest
- Comes back when you resume activity.
PAD can also lead to a feeling of numbness, weakness, heaviness, and fatigue in the muscles.
Although your legs are more likely to be affected, cyclical pain can also reach your buttocks and cause discomfort there.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the pain can be severe enough to prevent you from engaging in activities that you enjoy, such as playing golf or chasing after your grandchildren.
When exercising, the National Health Service (NHS) advises people to visit their primary care physician if they have “recurring” leg pain.
In addition to recurrent pain, there are a number of other symptoms of PAD that may indicate that cholesterol is blocking your arteries. These include the following:
- A burning or aching pain in your feet and toes while resting, especially at night while lying flat
- Cool skin on your feet
- Redness or other colour changes of your skin
- More frequent infections
- Toe and foot sores that don’t heal.
In spite of the fact that all of these warning indications can be present, PAD does not always generate a great deal of obvious symptoms, much like high cholesterol.
Because cholesterol does not exhibit any obvious symptoms, a blood test is the most accurate method for detecting one’s cholesterol levels.
According to the National Health Service (NHS), a blood sample can be taken from your arm or a finger prick test can be performed.
Once high levels have been confirmed, there are a variety of strategies to defuse the time bomb, including maintaining a healthy diet and using cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins.