Dyslipidemia is a condition where one has too high or too low blood lipids. For many people, it is easy to achieve healthy levels by just eating a balanced diet and making lifestyle changes. But for others, they will need some medication to control and prevent additional health problems. These kind of people are said to be suffering from dyslipidemia disease. Blood lipids are simply fatty substances in our bodies, such as, triglycerides and cholesterol. This guide is here to help you understand the treatment and diagnosis of this disease.
What is Dyslipidemia?
The human blood contains three main types of lipid, that is, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). We started by saying that with dyslipidemia, a person suffers from unhealthy levels of one or more kinds of fat in their blood. So if you have this condition it means, either LDL or triglycerides levels are too high or your HDL levels are too low.
When LDL levels build up in excess, it forms clumps on your arteries which if they continue accumulating they can cause one to develop a heart attack. On the other hand, HDL helps to eliminate LDL from your blood. We get triglycerides from the calories we eat, but they don’t burn immediately. Instead, they are stored in fat cells and released as energy whenever needed. Which means if you are fond of eating extra calories, more than you need, you are likely to a buildup of triglycerides.
If your levels of LDL and triglycerides are too high, you are likely to get a heart attack or and stroke. While if your level of HDL is low, you are at risk of getting heart diseases.
Symptoms of Dyslipidemia
Most people will not even know that they have this disease unless it is very severe. Dyslipidemia shows no signs of its own unless it builds up to form another condition. A blood test is used to diagnose dyslipidemia or even a test you might take for another condition. If left untreated, dyslipidemia can cause coronary disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD), which can cause symptoms such as:
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath and feeling as if your chest is squeezing
• Pain or pressure in the chest
• Indigestion or heartburn
• Pain in the legs especially when walking
• Daytime exhaustion
• Vomiting and nausea
Note that the symptoms may worsen with activity or stress and may be relieved if a person rests. Talk to your doctor immediately if you experienced chest pain accompanied by dizziness and fainting or if you have trouble breathing.
A simple blood test will detect the presence of this condition. It will show the levels of your LDL, HDL and triglycerides. But because these numbers may change from time to time, it is advisable that you annually do a blood test. Your doctor may need you to take frequent blood tests if you are being treated for dyslipidemia.
Doctors will concentrate on lowering your LDL and triglycerides level. But the treatment may vary from depending on what is causing dyslipidemia. For people with total levels as high as 200, doctors may prescribe lipid modifying medications.
The most common medication for high cholesterol is statins which work by interfering with how cholesterol is produced in the liver. But if statins don’t work your doctor may prescribe fibrates, niacin or bile acid sequestrants.
Although dyslipidemia may not be that dangerous itself, the conditions that it brings about if left untreated are severe. It is therefore recommended that you frequently take a blood test to rule out the presence of this disease. You could also make some lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, reducing the intake of unhealthy fats and quitting smoking as well as reducing alcohol consumption.