Healthy Heart Month: What Can Lipids Do To My Body ?
Greetings of good health! Our heart is a very important organ of the body. It functions by pumping blood all throughout the body supplying all vital organs with oxygenated blood and nutrients needed to survive. Our blood travels through arteries and if there is an obstruction in any section, much-needed oxygen and nutrients may not be sufficiently distributed. One of the most important factors that can cause arteries to be blocked is an increase in the level of lipids in our body. Though our body needs lipids as a source of energy for our muscles and other body processes, “any imbalance in the level of lipids can result in disease including heart disease and diabetes.”
To know if you have dyslipidemia, you have to check your Lipid Profile.
WHAT IS A LIPID PROFILE?
The lipid profile is used as part of a cardiac risk assessment to help determine an individual’s risk of heart disease. Monitoring and maintaining healthy levels of these lipids is important in staying healthy.
The results of the lipid profile are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Depending on the results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or lipid-lowering medications such as statins.
- Personal history of CHD or non-coronary atherosclerosis
- Family history of cardiovascular disease before 50 years of age in male relatives or 60 years of age in female relatives
* Tests may be done every 1-2 years if there are no risk factors. If other risk factors are present or if a previous testing revealed a high cholesterol level in the past, more frequent testing with a full lipid profile is recommended.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT:
- Drug therapy is usually more effective than diet alone in improving lipid profiles.
- Although lifestyle modifications (diet and physical activity) are appropriate initial therapies for most patients, only a minority achieves substantial reductions in lipid levels from changes in diet alone.
- Lipid-lowering treatments should be accompanied by interventions addressing all modifiable risk factors for heart disease, including smoking cessation, treatment of blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, as well as the promotion of a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Long-term adherence to therapies is VERY IMPORTANT.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
- Eat healthy: Diets low in salt, total fat, and cholesterol.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Regular physical activity
- Cholesterol and other comorbidities should be kept under good control with proper treatment.
- Stop/avoid smoking
- Consult your physician regularly for monitoring of cholesterol levels.
Author: Marie Yvette Soriano-Jaramillo, M.D. and Arah Margarita Ty, M.D. – Jardine Lloyd Thompson – Benefit Solutions
American Academy of Family Physicians