Even though dyslipidemia has no symptoms, a lipid profile can detect this serious but treatable condition. This blood test measures total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or lousy cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or healthy cholesterol and triglycerides. If your LDL cholesterol or triglyceride level is too high and/or your HDL cholesterol is too low, you have dyslipidemia.
Genetic disposition, diabetes and hyperthyroidism can cause abnormal cholesterol levels. But so can overindulging in high-fat food and alcohol, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, but too much is dangerous. An unhealthy cholesterol balance increases your risks of developing atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Take a Prescription That Delivers a One-Two Punch
A new Center for Disease Control Prevention report revealed that nearly half of all American adults took prescription drugs between 2007 and 2010. At 47.5 percent, that figure rose from just 39.1 percent for 1988 through 1994. And 10 percent of people took five or more prescription medications in the 30 days before the survey. Cholesterol prescriptions ranked as a close second to heart medications as the most common. Almost 18 percent of participants reported taking heart and/or cholesterol drugs during the survey period. The need for prescriptions that treat chronic illnesses has increased along with life expectancy.
Because dyslipidemia is a unique challenge, you may need a three-pronged treatment approach. Your doctor may prescribe Vytorin, which actually is two drugs in one. While Simvastatin inhibits an enzyme that stimulates cholesterol production, Ezetimibe’s statin binds to your small intestine, so it can’t absorb cholesterol. That’s like getting the benefits of Zocor and Zetia in just one powerful pill. Vytorin reduces total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol as it increases HDL or good cholesterol.
Transform Your Lifestyle
Have you guessed that you’re the third part of this cholesterol-fighting solution? Research shows that limiting fats, reducing cholesterol and increasing fiber consumption can help you normalize your cholesterol levels. For the best results, supplement this diet program with exercise and weight control. Studies show that people who change their diets to control cholesterol lower their heart disease risk only when they also follow a regular aerobic exercise program.
Avoid Saturated Fat
Fats are essential macronutrients. Just like carbohydrates and proteins, they provide calories or heat so you can move, think and work. Without fats, your body won’t absorb A, D, E, K and fat-soluble vitamins. But having an abnormal amount of lipids or fats in your blood may cause dyslipidemia.Felicidad Velandria, registered nutritionist-dietitian and former supervising science research specialist at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), recommends limiting fat consumption because its caloric energy is higher or more concentrated than other food components.
Research shows that consuming more polyunsaturated fat from vegetable oils than saturated fat from animal foods such as pork, beef, chicken, egg yolks, butter and full-fat dairy products will decrease your total, bad and good cholesterols. But replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fat will decrease total and bad cholesterols without reducing good cholesterol. Monounsaturated fat sources include avocado, cashews, canola oil, olive oil, olives, peanut butter, peanut oil and peanuts.
To prevent dyslipidemia, Velandria recommends limiting your total fat intake to 25 to 35 percent of your total kilocalorie requirement for the day. The American Heart Association advises reducing your saturated fat consumption to 5 to 6 percent of your total daily calories. If you eat 2000 calories a day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated fat. Velandria advocates consuming 22 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 44 grams of monounsaturated fat per day.
Reduce Cholesterol Intake
While foods provide cholesterol, your liver produces the majority of this fat-like substance that’s essential for your body to function. But too much of this body fat component is dangerous to your health. For people with high lipid levels, experts recommend less than 0.2 grams (200 milligrams) of cholesterol per day. Reduce your consumption of meat, organ meats such as liver, egg yolks and non-skim dairy products. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin instead.
Increase Fiber Consumption
According to theAmerican Heart Association, eating dietary fiber from whole grains as part of an overall healthy diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. It may even lower your heart disease risk. The AHA recommends consuming 25 grams of soluble fiber daily.
Fiber benefits vary by type, so choose yours carefully. Whole grains are your best choices because they contain the entire grain — bran, germ and endosperm. Oats have the highest proportion of soluble fiber. Good whole-grain sources include barley, brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, popcorn, whole cornmeal, whole-wheat flour and wild rice. The manufacturing process of grinding grains into flour or meal removes the bran and germ, which reduces the dietary fiber considerably. Limit refined grains including wheat flour, bread and white rice.
Choose fruits and vegetables that contain 5 or more grams of fiber. Good fruit sources include apples, blackberries, citrus fruits, pears, raspberries and strawberries. High-fiber vegetable choices include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lentils, lima beans, peas, pinto beans and spinach.
Manage Your Condition
Take action now to control your dyslipidemia. Combining a two-in-one medication with a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber diet can get your abnormal cholesterol numbers in line. Diet modifications may take several months to affect your cholesterol levels. Yet some people see improvement within four weeks. Be patient and stick to your triple-threat approach to extend its health benefits.