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Leg pain? Why high cholesterol may be the cause.

Most of us know that having a high level of cholesterol can mean bad news for our health,1 but what you may not have known is that too much of this fat-like substance circulating in your blood could also be what’s causing your leg pain.


What is cholesterol?

Believe it or not, we need some cholesterol for our bodies to function correctly. It plays an essential role in creating certain hormones and helps maintain liver function. The problem arises when too much cholesterol builds up in the bloodstream, which can lead to blocked arteries.

What causes high cholesterol?

The main causes of excess cholesterol are lifestyle-based. Eating too many fatty foods, being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, or not getting enough exercise can all cause cholesterol levels in the body to rise. Additionally, some people may have high cholesterol due to their genetic makeup.


The Revitive Medic Circulation Booster® actively improves circulation by stimulating the muscles in your legs and feet, which helps to increase blood flow and reduce discomfort associated with poor circulation.



How does high cholesterol affect the body?

The main impact of having too much of this fatty substance is that it can accumulate inside your arteries, leading to the thickening of the walls of these essential pathways. This reduces the space available for blood to flow through your circulatory system, forcing your heart to work harder to maintain circulation, thereby increasing your blood pressure.

High cholesterol can also result in heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes. This is because the deposits of fatty cholesterol can break loose, causing clots or blockages in the arteries leading to the heart or brain.

What is less commonly known is that high cholesterol may also contribute to pain in the extremities, including your legs.


How does high cholesterol cause leg pain?

High cholesterol can lead to circulation problems throughout the body, affecting the legs by obstructing or restricting blood flow in the extremity arteries. This condition is commonly referred to as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).

If you have PAD or reduced blood flow to your legs due to high cholesterol, you may experience leg pain, typically during physical activity. This condition is known as 'claudication.' You may feel discomfort while walking, running, or even when climbing stairs. Usually, this type of pain subsides when you cease the activity that triggered it. It's essential to consult your GP if you encounter this type of discomfort.


Changes in colour

Inadequate blood flow to the legs can lead to changes in the appearance of your skin. Depending on the leg's position, it may appear either paler than usual (for instance, when elevating the legs) or take on a darker, purplish colour during prolonged periods of sitting. Discolouration in your toes may also be noticeable. If you observe any of these symptoms, it's important to make an appointment with your GP.


Other symptoms of poor circulation

Muscle cramps or spasms can have various causes. Cramps triggered by PAD or poor circulation often occur at night, typically affecting the feet or toes. These cramps can usually be relieved by sitting in a chair or letting the legs hang off the bed, as gravity can help restore blood flow to the affected areas.

Revitive has also demonstrated clinical benefits for patients with PAD.

If you've been experiencing cramps of this nature, it's possible that you're suffering from poor circulation or PAD. It's advisable to speak to your GP for guidance.

Feeling the chill

Finally, if you are suffering from poor circulation in the legs, you may notice that one or both of your legs or feet feel colder than the rest of your body. Restriction to the blood flow to these areas can make it harder for them to warm up.

How do I know if my cholesterol is too high?

Many people with high cholesterol don't experience any symptoms at all, so it's a good idea to get tested. You can have this test done through your GP, or for a small fee, many pharmacists can perform the test for you. You may also choose to purchase a home test kit. If your cholesterol levels are high, you can then take steps to improve your diet and lifestyle to help lower your cholesterol levels.

Some individuals with high cholesterol may experience symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, or chest pain. If you encounter these symptoms, it's important to consult your GP.

How can I relieve my leg pain?

If you’re experiencing leg pain caused by high-cholesterol or PAD, the good news is that changes to your diet and lifestyle can relieve the symptoms. Some doctors recommend ‘supervised exercise’, which means exercising with a specialist trainer. Exercise such as walking until the pain is too much, before taking a rest, then walking again can also be a good way to improve symptoms and gain fitness.

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