Just because you call it high cholesterol and your doctor calls it hyperlipidemia, the problem isn’t mitigated by a mere lack of proper nomenclature. The condition covers several disorders that lead to extra fats or lipids in your blood. It is possible to control some but not all factors that lead to hyperlipidemia.
Now we didn’t want to worry you too much. Hyperlipidemia is treatable, but you will have to fight a protracted war! If you have fallen victim to the disorder, you will have to check what you eat. What is more, you will need to exercise daily as well. If things get a little out of hand, you might have to rely on prescription medication too!
You need to realize that the goal is to reduce the harmful cholesterol levels. Doing so will reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and many other problems as well.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance by nature. It is one of the significant types of fat that our body makes. Cholesterol is included in many natural foods and diets as well. Some of the foods that have cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans include:
- Cheese and cheese products
- Egg yolk
- Fried foods
- Processed foods
- Ice cream
- Creamy pastries
Tell us something, do you exercise often? Well, not exercising often can lead to you gaining a few extra pounds. It can eventually raise your cholesterol levels. As we get older, cholesterol levels can often increase as well.
Some of you might be a little surprised to know this, but hyperlipidemia runs in families in some cases! People who inherit hyperlipidemia can experience some very high cholesterol levels! Sadly, this means they have a much greater chance of experiencing a heart attack, even at a very young age!
Symptoms & Risks
The majority of people with hyperlipidemia can’t tell that they are suffering from the condition. Not something that you can feel! However, you are very much likely to experience its effects at some point in your life! Cholesterol and other fats can quite quickly build up inside your arteries. As a result, this can make your blood vessels narrower, thereby making it more difficult for blood to get through. Hence, your blood pressure can shoot up in the process as well.
The buildup can also lead to the formation of a blood clot. If a blood clot of this nature breaks off, it can travel to your heart. The event can lead to a heart attack. On the other hand, if it goes to your brain, it can lead to a stroke there!
How Is Hyperlipidemia Diagnosed?
It is your doctor who should check your lipid levels regularly. A diagnostic test called the lipoprotein panel can show the levels of the following elements in blood:
It is the bad cholesterol that slowly accumulates in your arteries.
It is good cholesterol that lowers your risk for heart diseases.
These are just another type of fat in your bloodstream.
A combinative number reflecting three other numbers! It is well above the normal range if it is > 200 mg/dL.
It is highly recommended for adults 20 or older to have their cholesterol checked every five years. For the diagnostic test that we just described, you might have to fast for 10 hours at least.
Your doctor is likely to consider many factors. Some of these factors include age, smoker or non-smoker, and if a close family member has heart problems or not.
Lifestyle Changes That You Can Make!
Here are some of the significant lifestyle changes that you can make!
- Opt for foods that are low in trans fats as well as saturated fats
- Try to consume more fiber-rich foods. Examples include oatmeal, apples, bananas, pears, prunes, kidney beans, and everyone’s favorite lentils.
- Try to eat fish at least once, if not twice, every week!
- Sugar is a poison for you; stay away from it!
- Say no to fried and processed meat products as well.
Oh, and you have to limit your alcohol consumption too. Anything more than a single drink per day is just being cruel to yourself!
Another significant lifestyle change you can do is exercise a little more than you usually do. It is best to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. We are talking about just a brisk walk here! Just give it your 10-15 minutes, and you will see the difference, alright!
Medications and Treatment
For some patients suffering from hyperlipidemia, diet and lifestyle changes are more than enough to control their cholesterol levels. On the other hand, some people need medical interventions and treatment.
For example, drugs that prevent your liver from making cholesterol are one of the options considered in such a case. These drugs, called statins, and are a popular choice to lower a particular amount of cholesterol in the blood.
A relatively newer drug is very good at blocking consumed cholesterol taken into your body by your intestine. The drug is called a cholesterol absorption inhibitor, and it works in combination with statins. An example of such a drug is the drug ezetimibe (Zetia).
Nicotinic acid can also significantly impact how your liver makes fats. The liver lowers your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raising the HDL cholesterol levels in the process. Similarly, Fibrates are another drug option that can be considered. These lower triglycerides may boost HDL but aren’t very good at bringing down LDL levels.
Resins are another type of medication that can trick your body into utilizing cholesterol. These bind to bile, which is involved acid indigestion. The binding renders bile unable to do its job. Now the genius bit here is that your liver must make more bile. But for that to happen, it needs cholesterol. This scenario leaves lesser than average cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Make sure that you keep taking the drug that your doctor prescribes you. The chances are high that you will have to keep taking it for a long time to benefit from it.