A patient suffering from a lipid disorder does not exhibit any prominent signs or symptoms. The disease can only be detected using a blood test. Lipid disorders may cause certain complications like chest pain, heart attacks and strokes when not detected at an early stage.
What are Lipid Disorders?
Lipid disorders are a group of medical conditions which occur due to increased levels of fatty substances like cholesterol and triglycerides in a person’s blood. High cholesterol may lead to development of fatty deposits in the blood vessels which limits the flow of blood through the arteries. Lipid disorders increase the probability of heart disease and may even lead to stroke.
The types of cholesterol are:
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol: Lipoproteins are substances that carry cholesterol in the blood. HDL cholesterol is also known as “good’ cholesterol because it helps in removing excess cholesterol and preventing cholesterol build up in the blood vessels. This decreases the risk of heart disease.
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is commonly known as bad cholesterol. It grows in the inner walls of the arteries contributing to the formation of cholesterol plaques. Cholesterol plaques can block up arteries resulting in the hardening and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis).
Lipid disorders may be caused due to excessive intake of the following saturated or trans fats.
- Saturated fats: These are found in products such as butter, ghee, lard, cream, fat on meat, milk fat and cheese, palm kernel oil, palm oil and cocoa butter. Excessive intake of Saturated fats increases LDL cholesterol.
- Trans fats: Transfats are formed during the process of hydrogenation of unsaturated oils. Hydrogenation makes the oil to be more saturated and increases the blood cholesterol level.
- Monounsaturated fats: Olive, canola, peanut and sesame oils, almonds and avocados are rich sources of monounsaturated fats. Researchers believe that monounsaturated fats can lower LDL-cholesterol and increase HDL-cholesterol.
Lipid disorders can be prevented by keeping bad cholesterol levels under check. This can be done by following a healthy and active lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, limiting the intake of saturated and unsaturated fats, increasing fibre intake, exercising regularly and quitting smoking and drinking.
How is it diagnosed?
Lipid disorders don’t cause any prominent signs and symptoms and are primarily detected using a blood test that is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile test....
Lipid disorders don’t cause any prominent signs and symptoms and are primarily detected using a blood test that is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile test.
Statins help in reabsorbing cholesterol from the artery walls and may reverse lipid disorder.
The liver makes use of cholesterol to produce bile acids. Bile acid binding resins decrease the cholesterol levels indirectly by binding to bile acids which makes the liver use the excess cholesterol to produce bile acids.
The small intestine is responsible for absorbing the cholesterol from the food and then releasing it into the blood. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors help in reducing blood cholesterol by limiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
Injectable drugs help in absorbing more LDL cholesterol and decrease the overall cholesterol level. The doctor opts for this treatment if other medicines are unable to cure the patient.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements help in decreasing the amount of triglycerides. These supplements should be taken strictly according to the doctor’s prescription.
When do I contact the doctor?
Since lipid disorders don’t cause any symptoms, one should get proper screenings done at regular intervals. A person who is at a risk of getting the disease or has a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease should get more frequent checkups done.