What is hyperlipidemia (High cholesterol)?
Hyperlipidemia is a term to describe a medical condition whereby the blood levels of cholesterol are raised. The cholesterol refers to the bad cholesterol which are triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).
Combined hyperlipidemia refers to the condition whereby the total cholesterol and triglycerides are both raised.
Dyslipidaemia is a wider terminology that also includes low levels of good cholesterol namely the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).
Familial Hypercholesterolemia is a autosomal dominant condition whereby the total cholesterol and LDL are raised. In untreated patients, xanthomas may appear on the archilles tendon and the metacarpal phalangeal extensor tendons.
Having high levels of cholesterol will narrow the blood vessels with plaque (clot formation ) and increase risk of cardiovascular disease like heart diseases, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Besides hyperlipidemia other risk factors for cardiovascular disease include hypertension, smoking, diabetes, kidney disease, increasing age, strong family history of heart diseases and male gender.
Types of lipid in lipid profile test
You have to do a fasting lipid blood test in order to know if you have high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia). The blood test will measure the lipoproteins levels which are different types of lipids in your blood to interpret the results.
1. Total cholesterol when raised increased your risk of getting cardiovascular diseases.
2. LDL ( Low Density Lipoprotein ) : is the bad cholesterol which is a better predictor than total cholesterol. Higher levels of LDL has been highly associated with cardiovascular diseases. Framingham score predicts the 10 year risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Triglycerides : is the bad cholesterol that will also increased risk of cardiovascular diseases when raised.
4. HDL cholesterol : is the good cholesterol ; when raised is actually protective against cardiovascular diseases.
Causes and symptoms of Hyperlipidemia
In the early stages , there are no symptoms that the person with high cholesterol will feel. When the triglycerides are highly raised there will be a risk of pancreatitis and patient may experience extreme epigastric pain , nausea, vomiting , fever and even jaundice. But when cardiovascular complications come in , he may experience chest pain (heart diseases), leg pain and gangrene ( peripheral vascular disease ), numbness and weakness ( stroke).
In familial hypercholesterolaemia there may be physical signs like :
Non medical treatment
1. Well balanced healthy diet :
2. Exercise : benefits of exercise include lowering of blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol, lose weight and reduce risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times a week.
3. Losing weight : Obesity increases bad cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular diseases. Losing weight will help reduce LDL and Triglycerides and also increase good cholesterol HDL.
Medical Treatment for hyperlipidemia
If the cholesterol levels still high despite diet and exercise regimes , to prevent risk of cardiovascular diseases , medications will be started as benefits outweighs risk. There are different groups of medications that can be used for hyperlipidemia treatment. They are:
2. Nicotinic Acid (Niacin)
Health supplements which may help lower bad cholesterol
1. Soy Protein