Dyslipidemia refers to abnormally high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream and blood vessels. The condition is often a precursor to serious cardiovascular problems, including atherosclerosis, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Dyslipidemia treatment largely depends on a patient's age, overall health, specific symptoms, and the likelihood of progression to heart disease. The most common dyslipidemia treatment, however, is a carefully-regulated regimen of diet and exercise. More serious conditions may require a combination of exercise, medication, and surgery to prevent life-threatening complications.
When a patient is first diagnosed with the condition, his or her doctor will fully explain treatment options. In most cases, cholesterol and triglyceride levels can be reduced without medical intervention by making lifestyle changes. Diet and exercise are by far the most important elements of dyslipidemia treatment, coupled with quitting smoking and abstaining from alcohol. When a patient has mild dyslipidemia, his or her doctor might simply suggest general dietary guidelines and encourage regular activity. An advanced condition may necessitate a meeting with a nutritionist to design meal plans and a structured exercise routine.
Most diet plans for dyslipidemia entail eating low-cholesterol, low-calorie, trans-fat free foods. Sugary and fried foods should be avoided, and red meat and dairy products should be consumed in moderation. Fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts are essential in a cholesterol-lowering diet. In addition explaining the importance of eating certain types of foods, doctors and nutritionists help their patients learn how to eat smaller portions and avoid cravings.
Regular exercise can help a patient lose weight, stabilize blood pressure, and improve heart and lung functioning. It is important to follow a doctor's instructions to achieve the best results, and exercise routines can be adjusted to meet a person's ability level. Most patients are encouraged to take regular walks or bicycle rides if they are physically able. Workout classes, Pilates, yoga, and weightlifting may be suggested as well.
Diet and exercise are not always enough to prevent health complications, however. A doctor may decide to prescribe a daily oral medication that lowers triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. Statins are drugs that work by inhibiting the liver enzyme that synthesizes lipids and leads to fatty buildups. Another class of drugs, fibrates, are often used in combination with statins to raise levels of high-density lipoproteins, or good cholesterol, which helps to prevent fatty deposits from sticking to arterial walls. By following dyslipidemia treatment regimens carefully, a person can usually avoid surgery and serious health problems.