Dyslipidemia/ High Cholesterol/ High LDL/ Low HDL/ High Triglycerides

What is it:

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body. Body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Body makes all the cholesterol it needs and cholesterol is also found in some of the foods we eat. It travels through your bloodstream in small packages called “lipoprotein”. The name is derived from the fact that these packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside.

High blood cholesterol is a condition in which one has too much cholesterol in blood. It leads to a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary (heart) arteries. Plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds in the arteries, the condition is called Atherosclerosis and it increases the risk of heart attack or coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease.

Dyslipidemia can mean any of the following -

  1. High Total Cholesterol

  2. High level of LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) also known as bad cholesterol

  3. Low level of HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) also known as good cholesterol (HDL is called “good” cholesterol as it picks up excess bad cholesterol and takes it back to liver

  4. High level of Triglyccerides

Symptoms:

There are no signs and symptoms of high cholesterol, only blood test and detect it.

Diagnosis

As per AACE guidelines, Cholesterol levels should be measured at least once every five years in everyone in the  age range of 20-50, once every 1-2 years for people above the age of 50 years. For people on medicines to manage cholesterol, lipid profile should be tested once every 6-12 months. The screening test that is usually performed is a blood test called a lipid profile. The lipoprotein profile includes:

  • Total cholesterol

  • LDL (Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol)

  • HDL (High-Density lipoprotein cholesterol)

  • Triglycerides

Causes:

Factors within our control

  • Inactivity or lack of exercise

  • Obesity

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Large waist circumference

  • Smoking

Factors beyond control

Genetic makeup - may keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol from your blood efficiently or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.

Complications:

  • Chest Pain

  • Heart Attack

  • Stroke

How to manage:

Self management

  • eating a heart-healthy diet

  • regular exercise

  • avoiding smoking

  • losing weight (if you’re overweight or obese)

Clinical management

If this does not work, your doctor may put you on a cholesterol lowering medicine called Statins. Even if you are on medicines, lifestyle changes are a must to avoid further heart risk.