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Dyslipidemia – Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

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Dyslipidemia Definition

This is when a person has an abnormal amount of fat and/or cholesterol, known as lipids, in your blood. A person may also have a low level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or high blood levels of triglycerides.  It is a medical condition that is more common in males than females and occurs more in people as they get older. When a person has dyslipidemia it is often a precursor to cardiovascular problems that could be serious like a stroke, cardiac arrest, or atherosclerosis.


When a person has dyslipidemia it can be classified in two different ways which are:

  • Etiology – when it is classified as this it focuses more on the reason why it happened which could include genetic reasons.
  • Phenotype – when it is classified as this it means that it is present in your body and is able to see the type of lipid that is increased.

Symptoms

When a person has dyslipidemia there are no symptoms but it can cause other symptomatic vascular diseases such as coronary artery disease.  A person may also have other symptoms like:

  • Abdominal pain which can be caused by your intestines not having the right blood supply.
  • Acute pancreatitis which can be caused when you have hypertriglyceridemia which means you have elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood.
  • Dypsnea, which is shortness of breath or confusion
  • Aphasia, which is having difficulty when speaking
  • Heart disease
  • Dizziness
  • When walking you have calf pain
  • Having a stroke which is when you brain has a decrease in the flow of blood
  • Tendinous xanthomas which are causing deep, smooth, and sometimes painful nodules in your tendons like your knee, elbow, or Achilles.

Causes

When looking at the causes for dyslipidemia they are divided into two sub-categories which are:

  • Primary – this is when a person has an overproduction of cholesterol because of the mutations of multiple or single genes.  This is the common cause of children who have dyslipidemia but it may not affect most of the adult cases of dyslipidemia.
  • Secondary – this is the category that most adults fall into.  Having an inactive or sedentary lifestyle is the most essential cause in this category.

There are many other secondary causes for having dyslipidemia which can include:

  • Being obese
  • Overusing alcohol
  • Having  kidney disease that is chronic
  • Having diabetes mellitus
  • Having a thyroid gland that is underactive
  • Being on medications like contraceptives, corticosteroids, estrogens, etc.
  • In some people taking some antiviral or diuretic medications
  • Being physically inactive
  • Eating foods that are high in fat and cholesterol
  • Smoking

Treatment

How dyslipidemia is treated will depend on the person’s age, the health of the person, and the symptoms, if any, they are displaying.  The physician will also look at the probability of the medical condition progressing to having heart disease.  Most physicians will use the common treatment of exercise and eating a diet that is well-balanced.  For serious conditions the physician may also prescribe medication also.

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Life style change

If you have a mild case of dyslipidemia your physician may give you a general dietary guide and some exercises that you should do.  If you have a serious case your physician may want you to meet with a nutritionist to have a designed meal plan that will help lower your cholesterol and triglycerides along with an exercise routine.  The nutritionist will also show you how to avoid cravings and how to eat smaller portions.

The diet plan that you should follow will include foods that are low in calories, are trans-fat free, and low in cholesterol.  You should avoid eating foods that are fried and are sugary.  You should also eat red meat and dairy products in moderation so you can lower your level of cholesterol.  It would be better if you would eat fish, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.  If you drink alcohol in excess you should stop and you should also stop smoking.

Regular exercise

Exercising on a regular basis will not only help you lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels but help you lose weight.  Exercising will also help improve the function of your heart and lungs along with stabilizing your blood pressure.  Make sure that you follow the instructions of your physician when exercising as they know what exercises you will need to achieve your goal or weight loss and lowering your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.  If you are able you should take regular bike rides and walk as much as you can each day.  If you are able to do so you may be asked to include in your exercise regimen yoga, weight lifting, and Pilates.

Medications

If you are prescribed medication along with exercise and diet changes the medication will help to lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.  One of the medications that physicians prescribe is Statins.  This medication will inhibit your liver enzymes which if not inhibited it can lead to fatty buildups.  Your physician may also combine that medication with another medication called Fibrates.  Combining these two medication will help to raise your good cholesterol level, which helps to prevent the fatty deposits from sticking to your arterial walls.

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