High cholesterol often does not provide any visual clues, which requires a blood test to detect it, so Indian researchers have devised a new method for detecting it based on the folds of the hand.
High cholesterol is known to occur when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood.
Like other symptoms of heart disease, it runs inside the body and causes hidden problems. The absence of symptoms means that a blood test should be taken to confirm infection.
Researchers in India have developed a test that uses a digital camera to take a picture of a patient’s palm instead of a blood sample.
The image is compared to a database of known cholesterol levels.
Shankar Rajendiran Nagalingam and colleagues from the Sree Sastha Institute of Engineering and Technology describe how they developed a non-invasive method for testing cholesterol levels in patients at high risk of heart disease.
Their approach relies on creating a large database of cholesterol levels recorded using standard blood tests and correlating them with a standardized image of each patient’s hand, with cholesterol concentrated in the creases of the fingers.
Fatty cholesterol deposits called xanthomas can appear in the folds of the hand.
According to Winchester Hospital, xanthomas range in size from very small to three inches (about 7 cm).
Although a blood test is a reliable way to determine cholesterol levels, Indian researchers have proven that the presence of different total cholesterol levels can also be detected by analyzing a skin profile.
How to lower high cholesterol
If a diagnosis of high cholesterol is made, the patient is usually asked to make lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol levels.
There are many foods that are not only part of a healthy diet, but can actively help lower blood cholesterol as well.
According to the charity Heart UK, cutting back on saturated fats and replacing some of them with unsaturated fats is a great way to lower cholesterol.
Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature, as are butter, the fats found in meat, and coconut oil.
Foods that contain unsaturated fats include: vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, walnut, seed and avocado oils, nuts and oily fish.
According to Heart UK, oily fish is a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats.
Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, the Mayo Clinic explains.
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