According to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey, an estimated 47.7 per cent of Malaysians aged 18 and above have high blood cholesterol, which is also known as hypercholesterolemia. It is the most lethal silent killer which can sneak up for a sudden attack. In addition to precipitating a heart attack, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia level in also cause hypertension, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and even cancer. So how can we reduce high cholesterol and high triglycerides level in the blood? Lifestyle changes and/or medication by DoctoronCall?
Cholesterol and Triglycerides component
Both cholesterol and triglycerides are made up of fat components. Cholesterol can be divided into “good” cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and “bad” cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Careful consumption of food type can help reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol. On the other hand, a triglyceride is a form of fat storage under the skin and around the organs. When energy is needed, triglyceride can be broken down into fatty acids and glycerol.
How does cholesterol and triglycerides level in the blood affect our body?
Lipids or fat molecules accumulation in the blood vessel causes the narrowing of the passage gradually. The collection of fat under the endothelium can initiate inflammation and reduces the elasticity of blood vessels. Simply said, it is the formation of atherosclerosis. A greatly reduced vessel diameter diminishes oxygen flow to the organs, precipitating the onset of heart attack and stroke. If the atherosclerotic plaque gets dislodged, the embolus can travel further to other parts of the body bringing about the peripheral vascular disease in the limbs or chronic kidney disease. Apart from that, both components are processed and stored in the liver through mediators known as apolipoproteins, forming fatty liver disease. Hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia are indicated as one of the risk factors for various types of cancers.
When do I need to see the doctor?
Individuals with hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia are usually asymptomatic until complications such as cardiovascular disease or stroke occur. However, signs of cholesterol build-up can include:
- Xanthomas: Waxy deposits of cholesterol in the skin or tendons.
- Xanthelasmas: Cholesterol deposits in the eyelids.
- Corneal arcus: Cholesterol deposits around the cornea.
- Chest pain.
- Weakness in 1 side of the body.
Most of the time, this disease is an incidental finding during medical check-up involving blood investigation. Risk factors are:
- A poor choice in dietary intake.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Elderly age.
- Family background with a medical history of obesity as well as high blood cholesterol and triglyceride.
How do I overcome high blood cholesterol and triglyceride?
Even though hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia are easily preventable and is reversible if diagnosed, management requires patience and discipline. The first step is by conservative management which involves lifestyle changes including making smarter decisions on types of food intake. The dietary intake must consist of more vegetables and fruits as well as less oily fried food. Your food ingredients are the best prep by the method of steaming. Besides, you are recommended to make it a habit to sweat it out 150 minutes per week and bad habits of smoking must be stopped gradually.
Medical management utilizing Statins in a case of high blood cholesterol and triglyceride is indicated if a trial lifestyle changes fail to cause positive change. Statins exert its action by inhibiting the rate-limiting enzyme, HMG CoA Reductase in the cholesterol synthesis pathway. Due to concerns of adverse effects, Statins are only prescribed by doctors after the patient is thoroughly examined.