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Treatment of disorders related to high cholesterol levels

Hyperlipidaemia, that is, high blood fatty acid levels

The curse of overweight

The ones with overweight are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, due to the increased amount of cholesterol and other fatty acids in their blood.

The pathologically high amount of fatty acids in the blood causes depositions on the vascular walls. These will later calcify, forming a so called plaque.

This leads to two risk factors:

  • On one hand, the plaque may grow as large as it significantly decreases the amount of blood flow, resulting in hypoxia symptoms, later even completely occluding that blood vessel, resulting in complete anoxia which in turn leads to cell death in the area supplied by that vessel.
  • The same may occur if a segment of the original plaque breaks down, gets drifted with the blood current and occludes the flow wherever it gets stuck.

Blood vessel constriction may lead to coronary-attacks, heart infarct, stroke. In addition to this, those with overweight more often suffer from diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in our country. A rather common consequence is limb amputation, due to circulatory impairment caused by diabetes, thus slowing down wound healing as well. Not to forget the severe pain and abrasion resulting from the overload on joints, as well as the increased production of masculine hormones in women. (A number of women attending counseling due to barrenness get pregnant on the natural way after losing weight.)

The metabolic syndrome

Overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, increased cholesterol and fatty acid blood levels common presence is defined as metabolic syndrome, being the endemic disorder of the current western world. It goes that far, that medical community already apostrophes this new species as the homo metabolicus. Hungary can “proudly” state, that, regarding to this it belongs among the developed countries.

The diagnosis of obesity:

The body mass index:

For orientation only, the Broca index may be sufficient, that is normal weight=body height (in cm) – 100, however, this is fairly inexact.

The body mass index (BMI) is much more precise, and used by the research community. It is defined as follows: body weight should be divided by the square of the body height measured in meters. The normal range is between 18.5 and 24.9, extreme obesity over 40, and between the two the different stages of obesity are located.

The waist-hip ratio

Waist should be measured at the umbilical level, hip at the ham. Divide the value measured at the waist with the one at the hip. Ladies start worrying above 0.85, while gentleman at values above 1, since weight gain localized to the belly, defined as apple type obesity constitutes a much greater health risk, as the pear type, involving the hip and thighs.

Diagnosis of high blood fatty acid levels:

At the routine laboratory check-up, or at the yearly compulsory laboratory examination for patients with high blood pressure the following values should also be measured:

  • total cholesterol
  • triglyceride
  • LDL (that is the bad cholesterol)
  • HDL (that is the good cholesterol)

The threshold values referring to you are also depending from which other disorders, risk factors you may be affected of, as well as the level of organ impairment already present due to arteriosclerosis. For those with no risk factor or co-morbidity the 5.2 cholesterol value applies.

Information regarding high blood pressure you’ll find HERE (link to hypertension)

Some lifestyle tips:

  • Exercise regularly (at least half an hour at least three times a week),
  • use the stairs instead of the elevator, or get off the bus one stop earlier
  • falling asleep before midnight has weight decreasing effect, or at least prevents obesity. This is confirmed by research results, and is related to the production of the substance called leptin, and the cycle of cholesterol turnover
  • eat only half of your regular dinner. No need for calorie counting, no need for any formula, just draw a line in the middle of your plate and eat only what is on one side.
  • Try to have dinner preferably before eight o’clock

Mediterranean diet

Research shows, that the diet typical for Mediterranean countries has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases. What are the characteristics of this diet?

  • the high amount of vegetal fibers (seedy bread, durum pasta, salad, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • consume about half kg of fruit and vegetable per day
  • moderate, but regular red wine consumption
  • Fish (especially fish rich in omega-3-fatty acids: mackerel, herring)

Pharmaceutical treatment

If lifestyle changes don’t prove efficient, the administration of medication may be necessary. Based on their active agent, the blood fatty acid reducing agents either belong to the group of so called statins or fibrates. Which of these your doctor will prescribe you depends on which alteration dominates in your laboratory results: cholesterol or triglyceride. If results still prove inefficient, medication may be combined with other effective agents.

Whichever medication we decide to use, it is important to know, that the primary method to reduce blood fatty acid levels is self-control and a proper lifestyle.