The fats found in the blood are known as lipids and The main goal while fighting hyperlipidemia is to reduce the levels of bad lipids in your blood. While this condition is treatable, it can affect someone for their entire life.
Cholesterol is a wax-like fat that is present in certain foods and also produced in the body. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it gets deposited on the walls of blood vessels and form plaques. Over the course of time these plaques becomes larger and can clog up the blood vessels leading to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
A closer look at cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol- LDL (low density cholesterol) and HDL (high density cholesterol). LDLs are the bad cholesterol that sticks to your blood vessels and HDL are the good ones that clean up the LDLs and move them to the liver for removal from your body.
What causes hyperlipidemia
Foods that are rich in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol contribute to hyperlipidemia such as:
- Fried and processed food
- Ice creams & Pastries
- Red meat
Sedentary lifestyle – Lack of exercise means that the body is not burning the fat that comes from food. Over the course of time, it accumulates to cause severe problems.
Hereditary – People with a family history of high cholesterol can inherit this condition.
Smoking and Alcohol- Increases the risk of this condition.
Health problems that can lead to high cholesterol
Abnormally high cholesterol levels are often found in people with these conditions, as the cholesterol cannot be processed by the body:
It can also be affected by certain medications such as birth control pills, diuretics and certain types of antidepressants.
Treating and managing hyperlipidemia
The main action against high cholesterol is making healthy changes in lifestyle. Even if one suffers from inherited hyperlipidemia, making changes in lifestyle is an important part of the treatment process. Some of the changes that one can make to fight this condition are-
- Choosing healthy fats – omega-3 fatty acids, nuts, avocado, olive oil, fish, whole eggs, etc
- Daily exercise & losing weight
- Cutting out on trans fats
- Increasing the consumption of fiber
- Quitting smoking and alcohol intake
Medication requirement will be decided by your doctor. Follow the doctor’s advice on the medications as prescribed to you. Some people may require lifelong adherence to medications and some may be treated over a short term. Follow ups to check your lipid levels every three to six months may also be advised and ensure the compliance of the same to treat you effectively.
Being aware of the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle can motivate people to take steps against hyperlipidemia. One can make these changes in their lifestyle and actively fight off the risks of high cholesterol.
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