Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Hyperlipidemia, also known as high cholesterol, is one of the biggest health problems, it affects 1 in 3 people in the United States. Individuals with high cholesterol levels are at a higher risk of suffering with various health conditions. Therefore, controlling your cholesterol is absolutely crucial.
Classifications of High Cholesterol
There are 3 types of fats (lipids) that are measured to diagnose hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol); HDL, LDL and Triglycerides.
HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is one of the two types of cholesterol in our blood. HDL, also considered good cholesterol, takes up excess amount of cholesterol in the blood and transports to the liver to remove it from the body, ultimately lowering overall cholesterol level.
LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is the other type of cholesterol in our blood. LDL, also considered bad cholesterol, does not get removed from the body, but rather builds up in the body, especially in the blood vessels. Excessive build up of LDL can eventually lead to serious cardiovascular diseases.
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in our blood. Like LDLs, triglycerides also build up in the body and excessive build up of triglycerides can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases.
The ultimately goal when treating high cholesterol is to decrease LDL and triglyceride level and increase HDL level.
Health risks of high cholesterol/triglyceride
Uncontrolled high cholesterol/triglyceride can lead to serious health complications:
-Heart Attack: Due to the build up of lipids in the artery, the heart receives insufficient amount of blood.
-Stroke: Due to to the build up of lipids in the artery, the brain receives insufficient amount of blood
-Peripheral arterial disease: Due to the build up of lipids in the peripheral arteries, the extremities (legs and feet) receive insufficient amount of blood, leading to leg pain.
-High blood pressure: Due to the narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels, the heart has to work harder to pump enough blood throughout the body, leading to higher blood pressure.
How can high cholesterol/triglyceride be treated or prevented?
High blood cholesterol/triglyceride level can be managed in different ways ranging from simple lifestyle changes to oral medications such as Statin medications.
Here are some simple lifestyle changes that can help you lower your cholesterol level:
-Reduce consumption of high level of saturated fat such as red meat, fried foods, and diary product made using whole milk
-Eat "heart healthy" foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts
-Enjoy regular physical activity
-Quit smoking (Feel free to come to our pharmacy for help!)
-Make efforts to maintain a healthy weight
If you are already diagnosed with high cholesterol, you may be already taking oral medications to lower your cholesterol level. Never stop your medication without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. If you have a history of heart problems or stroke, discontinuing the medication may be life threatening! However, if you are taking the medication just to control your cholesterol and have low risks for heart complications, you may be able to stop taking the medication by maintaining a healthier life style under supervision of your doctor.
Have questions or want to learn more about having high cholesterol/triglyceride? Feel free to visit our pharmacy!