Friday, March 29, 2013

Everything You Will Ever Need to Know About Hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia is when there are higher than normal amounts of lipids in the blood stream. Lipids, often called fats, are essential to the composition of cells.Generally when an individual has hyperlipidemia they also suffer from high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. There are no symptoms for hyperlipidemia so often times it goes undetected for long periods of time. Some of the risk factors are age (men over 45, women over 55), unhealthy lifestyle (poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and smoking), medical conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, or pregnancy), and genetics. A blood test is needed to diagnose hyperlipidimia. Because there are no specific symptoms associated with hyperlipidemia a blood test will determine the levels of lipids in your blood. These levels can help determine the intervention necessary to control lipid levels, if diagnosed with hyperlipidemia. It is recommended as a precaution by The National Cholesterol Education Program that everyone get a blood test every 5 years after the age of 20.

Although the term fat generally has a negative connotation, it is important to recognize that at appropriate levels, lipids have important functions. However, if the lipid levels exceed the functional level, health risks increase significantly. Lipids are used to store large amounts of energy and to protect cells of the body. Lipids are able to store more energy per gram than carbohydrates and proteins. Activities lasting longer than one hour are fueled by the energy stored in lipids. Lipids make up the semi-permeable membrane of body cells that regulate what is allowed to enter the cells of the body. The lipid bilayer also protects the organelles within the cell, contains sites for enzyme and hormone recognition and transports food sources into the cell.

Blood test results will give a breakdown of different lipid levels. To have a low risk for heart disease, lipid levels should be:

LDL <130 mg/dL

HDL >40 mg/dL

Triglycerides <200 mg/dL

Total cholesterol <200 mg/dL

75% of blood cholesterol is in the liver and other cells in our bodies. The other 25% comes from the foos you eat. LDL (low density liporpotiens) and HDL (high density lipoprotiens) are special carriers that transport cholesterol because of its inability to be dissolved into the blood.

LDL the bad cholesterol is produced naturally in the body. Having increased levels of LDL may be due to genetics or eating saturated/trans fats and dietary cholesterol. HDL is the good cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL seem to protect against heart disease. HDL carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver to be disposed from the body.

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