This bizarre warning sign on your toes can indicate high cholesterol

A strange symptom that appears on your toes may indicate that you have high cholesterol

toes on pastel background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you've ever wondered if you might be suffering from high cholesterol, the clue could be on your toes. 

High cholesterol can sometimes lead to xanthoma, a skin condition that can develop on your toes and could be an indicator of something more serious.

Xanthoma is where fat builds up underneath the surface of the skin meaning that little bumps can appear if your cholesterol is too high.

These growths can appear anywhere on the body. However, they are particularly common on the feet, hands, buttocks, and joints (ie: knees and elbows). 

Healthline suggests these growths can differ in size and color from person to person. "Xanthomas can vary in size. The growths may be as small as a pinhead or as large as a grape. They often look like a flat bump under the skin and sometimes appear yellow or orange."

"They usually don’t cause any pain. However, they might be tender and itchy. There may be clusters of growths in the same area or several individual growths on different parts of the body," says Healthline.

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(Image credit: BSIP / Contributor/ Getty)

These fatty lumps develop because when your body has high levels of blood lipids, or fats and stores the fat as benign growth.  

Xanthoma growths are not dangerous and will often disappear when the underlying issue is treated. However, stubborn lumps may need to be treated by being surgically removed or chemically burnt off.

Of course, having these fatty lumps cannot determine if you definitely have high cholesterol. The only way to check is by visiting your doctor and having a blood test.

What is high cholesterol and how do you get it?

High Cholesterol can be a serious issue that raises the likelihood of developing heart disease, strokes, or other heart problems.

High cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance—called cholesterol—circulating in your blood. "We need cholesterol in our blood to stay healthy, it's when it gets too high that it's a problem." says Heart UK.

High cholesterol can be caused by lots of different things. Diet and exercise are the main contributors so if you eat a lot of fatty food and don't exercise enough, you can be at risk of developing high cholesterol.

Drinking alcohol and smoking can also be major contributors. 

Having high cholesterol can even be genetic as research has found that being prone to high cholesterol can run in families. This is called familial hypercholesterolaemia.

How can you lower your risk of developing high cholesterol?

There are various things you can do to lower your risk of developing high cholesterol. "Making some simple changes to your lifestyle can keep your cholesterol levels and your heart healthier," says Heart UK. 

Eating balanced and heart-healthy meals can improve your diet and therefore improve the amount of fat you are consuming. 

Exercising regularly can also help lower your cholesterol. Try out some of the best workouts for getting fit and feeling good to ensure you are keeping your body fit.

For some people, medication can also be a good remedy to help lower their high cholesterol.

If in doubt, it is best to consult your doctor about what might work for you.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.