What is dyslipidemia?
Dyslipidemia is an alteration of lipid and protein levels in the blood. It includes cholesterol, triglycerides or both, and is one of the main risk factors for ischemic heart disease. It can also appear as a consequence of a decrease in the level of HDL cholesterol.
The current system classifies dyslipidemia as primary or secondary. However, it does not consider specific lipoprotein disorders that contribute to the development of the disease with standard cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations.
Dyslipidemia is an asymptomatic disease that is detected in advanced stages, usually when symptoms associated with the condition manifest, such as: cerebral infarction, acute pancreatitis or coronary heart disease. However, its development can be foreseen by means of a blood test.
What are its causes?
It can be inherited, primary dyslipidemia, but it can also appear as a consequence of an unhealthy lifestyle, also known as secondary dyslipidemia. The causes with the highest incidence of dyslipidemia are sedentary lifestyle and excessive dietary intake of saturated fats.
Whether it responds to primary or secondary causes, the disease can develop to varying degrees.
Some of the most frequent causes associated with lifestyle are:
- Excessive consumption of saturated fats.
- Diet poor in fiber.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
Can it be prevented?
The answer is yes. It is advisable to maintain an active life, do physical exercise and follow a balanced diet, since in this way we will contribute to lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood. With the help of medication we will also be able to lower the cholesterol level.
Some tips to prevent dyslipidemia are:
- Incorporate legumes, cereals and nuts to the diet.
- Moderate the size of portions.
- Daily physical exercise.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Reduce fat consumption.
Treatment should be individualized taking into account the patient’s characteristics and the stage of the disease. The main treatment will be aimed at controlling the patient’s diet and promoting the consumption of vegetables and legumes.
In patients with high cholesterol it will be necessary to administer statins, while in those with high triglyceride levels niacin, fibrates and omega-3 fatty acids will be used. Statin treatment is indicated to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, there will be cases in which it will be necessary to resort to medication to control the evolution of the disease, especially when LDL cholesterol levels are above 190 mg/dL or when the patient, aged between 40 and 75 years, suffers from diabetes.
Which specialist treats it?
The family physician will be in charge of the diagnosis and treatment of dyslipidemia.