What Are the Treatments for Hyperlipidemia?

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If you have hyperlipidemia, you have excess amount of lipids (a type of fat) in your blood. This fat performs many useful functions, but excess amounts promote problems such as heart disease, heart attack and stroke. If you have hyperlipidemia, chances are you have high cholesterol as well. It is usually caused by lifestyle choices or underlying conditions . Treatments include therapeutic lifestyle changes and certain medications.

Treatment Guidelines

  • Your lipid level, general health and the presence of heart disease risk factors will guide your doctor in determining treatment. If feasible, your doctor will start off with recommending lifestyle changes as a sole treatment strategy since lifestyle is a major contributor to this condition. If this is not effective, you will probably receive medications to use in conjunction with lifestyle changes. If your condition is inherited, lifestyle change alone might not be sufficient, and you will need to start medication right away. The majority of people prescribed medication to lower lipid levels are men older than 35 and post-menopausal women.

Managing Underlying Conditions

  • Underlying conditions are another key player in promoting hyperlipidemia. Certain conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and an underactive thyroid can raise lipid levels. An important part of managing your hyperlipidemia involves properly managing the medical problem contributing to it. Take medications as prescribed, adhere to the lifestyle suggestions given by your doctor, and keep up with doctor's appointments and testing relevant to your condition. Being diligent about the underlying condition can help treat your hyperlipidemia.

Diet as Lifestyle Change

  • An important part of your treatment is lifestyle changes, of which diet is one of the most important. Monitoring your diet carefully can decrease the need for medication. The following suggestions will lower lipid levels and promote a healthy heart.

    Your diet should consist of healthy fats such as those found in olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds and fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, cod, tuna and halibut. Limit your intake of saturated fats such as those found in dairy and animal products; they are also high in cholesterol. Trans fats are also bad for your heart. They are found in commercially baked goods, margarine and many fried foods.

    Other heart healthy foods include whole grains in the form of pasta, bread, rice and oatmeal. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which helps the body excrete excess amounts of fat.

    Drinking alcohol moderately might be of benefit, but the Mayo Clinic states positive results are not strong enough to recommend drinking alcohol if you do not already. If you do drink, keep it one each day if female and two each day if male.

Exercise as TLC

  • Exercise is important for managing your lipid levels. Losing excess weight can treat your hyperlipidemia by lowering excess amounts of lipids and other fats as well as raising your level of "good" cholesterol. Losing weight is especially important if you carry your fat around the middle. This body shape raises your risk of heart disease.

    Your doctor will determine how much weight you need to lose and will design a safe and effective exercise regiment for you.

Medications

  • If lifestyle changes alone have not worked or you need to start medication right away, certain medications help lower lipid levels . Statins such as Crestor and Zocor and fibrates such as Tricor act on the liver to block production of certain substances. Bile-binding medications such as Prevalite bind lipids to bile, a necessary component of digestion; this lowers lipid levels in the blood.

References

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