Cholesterol Disorders

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Cholesterol Disorders

Contrary to what most people think, cholesterol, in small quantities, is essential for our daily lives. In order to understand why, it is important to understand what it is, and what functions it completes. Cholesterol, which is produced mainly by the liver, is used to build the structure of cell membranes, make hormones like oestrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones, help your metabolism work efficiently, and produce bile acids to help the body digest fat and absorb nutrients.

Excessively high or low cholesterol levels, though, can result in cholesterol disorders. The main cholesterol disorders include:

  1. Hyperlipidaemia: This cholesterol disorder indicates that you have an unusually high level of fat (lipids) in your blood. This condition, also known as high blood cholesterol, can cause a number of health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
  2. Hypolipidemia: This cholesterol disorder indicates that you have an unusually low level of fat in your blood. This condition, also known as low blood cholesterol, can increase your risk of haemorrhagic stroke, depression and anxiety.

Signs of Cholesterol Disorders:

There are no definitive cholesterol disorder symptoms that can indicate a that a patient is suffering from this condition. The only way to confirm this is through a blood test.

Before delving into this any further, it is important to be aware of the different types of cholesterol. There are two basic kinds of cholesterol; Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also called Bad Cholesterol, and High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or Good Cholesterol.

Patients with high blood cholesterol will be faced with LDL cholesterol build-up in the inner walls of the arteries, which are essential for carrying blood to the heart and the brain. This build-up causes the arteries to narrow, which can lead to chest pain (angina), heart attack or strokes.

In order to arrest high blood cholesterol as soon as is possible, your doctor may recommend that you get your cholesterol checked more often if you have a family history of cholesterol disorders, or suffer from high blood pressure, are overweight or smoke.

Causes of Cholesterol Disorders:

In cases where high blood cholesterol is faced, one of the main causes can be a diet that is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Essentially, this means that a diet that is high in meat, eggs or dairy products.

Other factors that can cause this cholesterol disorder include:

  1. Being overweight
  2. Not exercising regularly
  3. Overusing alcohol
  4. A family history of cholesterol disorders
  5. Age can also be a cause, as your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels rise are you grow older. After the age of 55 years, women have been found with higher LDL levels, when compared to men.
  6. Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, kidney failure or hypothyroidism.
  7. Medication like birth control pills, certain diuretics, beta-blockers, estrogen or corticosteroids.

Cases of low blood cholesterol disorders can be caused by a separate set of conditions or situations. This can include:

  1. Low levels of red blood cells (anaemia)
  2. Malnutrition or lack of food
  3. Liver disease
  4. Patient’s body being unable to absorb food

Treatment of Cholesterol Disorders:

While the treatment for cholesterol disorders may vary based on the patient’s specific case history, the general procedure that is followed to combat high blood cholesterol includes:

  1. Reducing the cholesterol in your blood will require the patient to follow a healthy diet, which will restrict itself to food that is low in total fat or saturated fat.
  2. Maintaining a proper height-to-weight ratio
  3. Exercising at least three times in a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes at a stretch.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication to combat your cholesterol disorder, in addition to lifestyle changes, which can include:

  1. Statins, which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels
  2. Bile Acid Sequestrants, which may be prescribed along with Statins, to help lower LDL cholesterol levels
  3. Nicotinic Acid to help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and also rained the level of good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
  4. Fibrates that will help lower triglyceride levels, and which may also help to increase the HDL levels
  5. Ezetimibe, which will help to block cholesterol absorption, and lower LDL cholesterol.

The Apollo Clinic Experience:

At Apollo Clinic, our team of experienced cardiologist, internists and endocrinologist will help you detect and arrest any cholesterol disorder. From accurate diagnosis and timely treatment, our experts will ensure that you get the help and support that you need to get through this trying time. If you feel that you may be suffering from a cholesterol disorder, immediately schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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