Prevention First

DYSLIPIDEMIA

Dyslipidemia is a disorder of lipoprotein metabolism, including lipoprotein overproduction or deficiency. Dyslipidemias may be manifested by elevation of the total cholesterol, the "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the triglyceride concentrations and a decrease in the "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration in the blood.

Causes

  • Dyslipidemia comes under consideration in many situations including diabetes, a common cause of lipidemia. For adults with diabetes, it has been recommended that the levels of LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride be measured every year.
  • The most important cause of dyslipidemia is lifestyle with excessive dietary intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Other common causes include diabetes mellitus, alcohol overuse, chronic kidney disease, hypothyroidism, liver diseases and drugs.
  • Patients with type 2 diabetes are especially at risk of developing dyslipidemia.

Symptoms

  • Dyslipidemia itself usually have no symptoms but can lead to symptomatic vascular disease, including coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease.

Prevention

High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. You can reduce cholesterol with medications, but if you'd rather make lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol, you can try these five healthy lifestyle changes. If you're already taking medications, these changes can also improve their cholesterol lowering effect.

1. Lose weight.

  • Carrying some extra pounds even just a few contributes to high cholesterol. So losing as little as 5 to 10 pounds (about 2 to 5 kilograms) can help reduce cholesterol levels. Start by taking an honest look at your eating habits and daily routine.
  • If you eat when you're bored or frustrated, take a walk instead. If you pick up fast food for lunch every day, pack something healthier from home.
  • If you're sitting in front of the television, try munching on carrot sticks instead of potato chips as you watch.
  • Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

2. Eat heart healthy foods.

  • Even if you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt, making a few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health.
  • Choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, found in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. Instead, Choose Leaner Cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats found in olive, peanut and canola oils for a healthier option.
  • Eliminate Tran’s fats. Tran’s fat can be found in fried foods and many commercial baked products, such as cookies, crackers and snack cakes.
  • Limit the cholesterol in your food. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day less than 200 mg if you have heart disease. The most concentrated sources of cholesterol include Organ Meat, egg yolks and whole milk products.
  • Select whole grains. Various nutrients found in whole grains promote heart health. Choose whole-grain breads, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat flour and brown rice.
  • Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Snack on seasonal fruits. If you prefer dried fruit to fresh fruit, limit yourself to no more than a handful (about an ounce or two). Dried fruit tends to have more calories than does fresh fruit.

3. Exercise on most days of the week.

Whether you're overweight or not, exercise can reduce cholesterol. Better yet, moderate physical activity can help raise high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. With your doctor's OK, work up to 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make. Consider:

  • Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour.
  • Riding your bike to work.
  • Swimming laps.
  • Playing a favorite sport.
    To stay motivated, find an exercise buddy or join an exercise group.

4. Quit smoking.

If you smoke, stop. Quitting can improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don't end there. Just 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure decreases. Within 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack decreases. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.

5. Drink alcohol only in moderation.

  • Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol but the benefits aren't strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn't already drink.
  • Drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren't enough to lower cholesterol levels. Make sure the changes you choose to make are ones that you can continue, and don't be disappointed if you don't see results immediately. If your doctor recommends medication to help lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue your lifestyle changes.