“One of the most common early warning signs that cholesterol has started to build up in your blood vessels is xanthelasma,” said Dr Susan Sarangapani, consultant surgeon at OCL Vision. From the location to the colour of this sign, the expert detailed how to spot it in the comfort of your home.
The doctor explained xanthelasma describes a condition which triggers the growth of yellowish-white lumps on the upper and lower eyelids.
She continued: “Around half of the people that develop xanthelasma will have high cholesterol, as it’s caused by fat deposits.
“These people can have high levels of low-density lipids, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol or it can also be the result of a lack of low-density lipids, or ‘good’ cholesterol.”
Although cholesterol doesn’t usually present with many warning signs, this condition cropping up around your eyes could be an indicator.
READ MORE: High cholesterol: The warning signs in your body pointing to ‘excess cholesterol’
While anyone can experience these yellow bumps, Dr Sarangapani shared that certain people might be more prone to this sign.
The expert said: “Women are more likely to develop xanthelasma and it’s more often found in people who are middle-aged or older.
“It can also be impacted by other health issues such as obesity, diabetes and thyroid issues.”
When it comes to spotting these growths, all you need to do is grab a mirror.
Dr Sarangapani advised: “The best way to find out if the condition is developing is by looking in the mirror.
“While the lumps aren’t itchy or painful, they can be quite unsightly and people who suffer from xanthelasma may be self-conscious about how it looks.
“If you have noticed the lumps developing, or if your optician has mentioned it in a routine eye exam, it is definitely worth seeing your doctor.
“Taking prompt action if you have high cholesterol can nip it in the bud before it causes cardiovascular issues further down the line.”
What’s worse, xanthelasma won’t “go away by itself” and it can even get worse.
The expert said: “The most effective way to remove the lumps is through surgery, but for those looking for a less invasive treatment, chemical peels have proven to be effective against the condition.”
While xanthelasma can point to high cholesterol, the fatty substance often shows no symptoms.
The most reliable way remains getting a blood test to find out what your levels are.
How to lower high cholesterol
Once you get high cholesterol confirmed by your doctor, the next step is to retrieve your levels from the danger zone.
From lifestyle tweaks to medicines, there are different interventions that can help.
For example, a cholesterol-lowering diet focuses on cutting down on fatty food rich in saturated fat.
This fat is found in the usual comforting suspects like sausages, cheese and biscuits.
However, some people might have to start taking a medication called statins to keep their levels in check and to avoid any further problems.