Dyslipidemia is defined as abnormal levels of one or multiple lipids (fat) or lipoproteins in your blood.
You blood is actually consist of main three lipids
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
If you have dyslipidemia, it usually means that your LDL levels are high as compared to HDL levels.
In this case, your Triglycerides levels will also be high.
LDL is nothing but simply a bad cholesterol and HDL is your good cholesterol.
LDL is bad because it forms clumps or plaques in the walls of your arteries.
Too much plaque in the arteries will block your arteries due to which the blood will not flow properly to your heart and as a result cause a heart attack.
HDL is your friend and it helps in removing LDL from your blood.
Triglycerides come from the calories from the food you eat but these don’t burn immediately.
Triglycerides are stored in fat cells and they’re released as energy when you need them.
So if you eat more calories compared to calories you burn, will ultimately result in high levels of triglycerides.
High LDL and Triglyceride levels may put you at a higher risk for heart attack or cardiac arrest.
This means that low levels of HDL are not good for you because it will put you at higher heart health disease risk.
Types of Dyslipidemias
There are 2 types of Dyslipidemia.
This dyslipidemia is genetic.
Among the specific types of primary dyslipidemia are:
Familial Combined Hyperlipidemia
This is the most common inherited cause of both high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
You can develop this problem in your teenage or 20’s if you have familial combined hyperlipidemia.
You would be at early coronary artery disease and can lead to a heart attack.
Familial Hypercholesterolemia and Polygenic hypercholesterolemia
These both are characterized by high total cholesterol.
You can easily calculate your total cholesterol by adding your LDL and HDL levels, along with half of your triglyceride level.
If the Total Cholesterol comes to 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less than that then this is the best cholesterol level.
This condition refers that you have high levels of Apolipoprotein B.
Apolipoprotein B is a protein that is part of your LDL cholesterol.
It is associated with secondary factors including a poor diet, obesity, hypothyroidism, kidney or liver disease, and certain medications.
Don’t get confused with the term Hyperlipidemia and Dyslipidemia.
Hyperlipidemia means you have higher levels of bad cholesterol i.e. LDL and Triglycerides but Dyslipidemia is abnormal levels of cholesterol i.e. it could be higher or lower from the normal range.
What Are The Symptoms?
It might be the chance that you are not aware of dyslipidemia.
It’s often discovered during a routine blood test.
Dyslipidemia leads to symptomatic vascular disease.
- CAD (Coronary Artery Disease) – Blockage in the arteries of your heart and can lead to chest pain and eventually a heart attack.
- PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease) – Blockage in the arteries of your legs and causes leg pain when walking.
What are the causes and who’s at risk?
Several conditions can lead to dyslipidemia, like
- Consumption of food items that are high in saturated fat and trans fat.
- Excessive alcohol consumption may lead to higher triglyceride levels.
You will be at a higher risk of Primary Dyslipidemia if one or both of your parents had dyslipidemia.
If you are in your older age, then there is also a risk factor for high cholesterol.
Women usually have lower LDL levels than men until menopause. That’s when women’s LDL levels start to rise.
Medical conditions that can raise dyslipidemia risk include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Chronic Kidney Disease
A simple blood test report reveal your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides levels through which you can check whether your levels are high, low, or in a healthy range.
These numbers change from year to year, so getting annual blood work is a good idea.
If you take medications for dyslipidemia your doctor may ask you to have more frequent blood tests.
- The use of Statins reduces LDL levels by interfering with cholesterol production in the liver and can help reduce cardiovascular risk.
- Use of Fibrates (Non-Statin Drugs) when triglycerides are severely elevated can reduce the risk of pancreatitis.
Other non-statin drugs include:
How lifestyle changes can help?
Lifestyle changes will definitely help you get your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control.
The first step is to change your diet.
Changes should include consuming less refined sugar, saturated fat, and alcohol.
Adding lean proteins, vegetables, more fruits, and whole grains to your diet may help.
Daily exercise and weight loss may also improve your cholesterol profile.
- Maintain a healthy weight by following a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly.
- Quit smoking if you smoke.
- Discuss with your doctor if you’re concerned about dyslipidemia
- Be proactive about leading a healthy life, if you have a family history of high cholesterol.
- Get a complete full-body blood test every 6 months or once a year
By taking statins or fibrates and a healthy lifestyle, you can easily manage dyslipidemia.
The key is to keep taking medications properly if they’re effective at managing your numbers and you aren’t experiencing any side effects.
If you follow your doctor’s advice, you ought to be able to get dyslipidemia in restraint and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.