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What Is The Medical Term For High Cholesterol

If You Are Overweight Losing 5 To 10 Pounds Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

Dyslipidemia (High Cholesterol): Screening, Statin Medications and Side Effects

The correct answer is true. To lose about one pound a week, eat about 500 fewer calories a day. You can lose weight by eating smaller portions. Also replace low-fiber, high-fat foods with lean meats and other proteins, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

A Path To Lasting Lifestyle Change

Give your patients the advice they need to set and achieve sustainable health goals. Explore AMA’s resources to help patients create healthy habits.

The AMAs What Doctors Wish Patients Knew series provides physicians with a platform to share what they want patients to understand about todays health care headlines.

In this installment, Kate Kirley, MD, a family doctor who is the director of chronic disease prevention at the AMA, shared what she and her physician colleagues wish patients knew about high cholesterol and how to lower levels.

Treatment And Medication Options For High Cholesterol

Although having high cholesterol numbers can contribute to the long-term risk of heart attack and stroke, you can lower your cholesterol through changes in your lifestyle habits, including adopting a heart-healthy diet, increasing your physical activity level, and quitting smoking. These long-term lifestyle changes can also prevent your cholesterol levels from changing in the first place.

Learn More About Prevention of High Cholesterol

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Home Remedies To Lower Cholesterol Naturally

In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.

Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, claims have been made about:

However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.

Always talk with your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications youre taking.

You cant control the genetic risk factors for high cholesterol. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.

To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Eat a nutritious diet thats low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • E.xercise regularly.
  • Avoid smoking.

Follow your doctors recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If youre at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis.

What Are Early Signs Of Fh

High Blood Cholesterol Medical Term

When you have FH, early detection of high cholesterol levels is key to getting the treatment that can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to family history of early cardiovascular problems, you may also notice lumps forming under your skin.

These fatty deposits are called xanthomas, and are particularly noticeable around tendons in the hands, knees, Achilles tendons and elbows, and under the skin around your eyes. Sometimes an ophthalmologist may spot signs of cholesterol deposits in your eyes as well.

Whether or not you have obvious signs of high cholesterol, you should get checked if heart disease runs in your family. Talk to your family doctor about your concerns a simple blood test is all it takes to see if your cholesterol levels are in the healthy range. A high cholesterol level at a young age is a particular red flag that you may have FH. If your doctor suspects you have the condition, you can undergo genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis.

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Signs And Symptoms Of High Cholesterol

Typically, high cholesterol doesnt cause any symptoms until it causes a medical emergency, like a heart attack or stroke. These heart-disease-related events dont occur until high cholesterol levels have led to fatty plaque building up in the arteries. In turn, this leads to a narrowing of the arteries and a change in the makeup of the arterial lining, also known as heart disease.

Use Liquid Vegetable Oils In Place Of Solid Fats

Liquid vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean and olive oil can often be used instead of solid fats, such as butter, lard or shortening. If you must use margarine, try the soft or liquid kind.

Use a little liquid oil to:

  • Pan-fry fish and poultry.
  • Make cream sauces and soups using low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Add to whipped or scalloped potatoes using low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Brown rice for Spanish, curried or stir-fried rice.
  • Cook dehydrated potatoes and other prepared foods that call for fat to be added.
  • Make pancakes or waffles.

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High Cholesterol Runs In The Family

Oftentimes, one of the biggest factors that determines your cholesterol levels is your genes, said Dr. Kirley. How your genes affect your cholesterol is pretty complicated, but its safe to say that high cholesterol tends to run in families.

For most people, genetic testing isnt necessary or helpful unless they have very high cholesterol levels, she added. And because genes are something we cant change this is why medications are an important tool for treating high cholesterol.

Psck9 Inhibitors Can Lower Your Ldl Cholesterol: A Lot

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PSCK9 inhibitors may be a good choice for people with an inherited form of high cholesterol. These new drugs can lower dangerous LDL levels by half or more. The drugs costs are high, but the health care industry is working with manufacturers and pharmacists to bring the price down and make PSCK9 inhibitors available to more people.

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Complications Of High Cholesterol

Since high cholesterol alone typically doesnt cause any symptoms, people only experience complications when their high cholesterol contributes to the development of severe heart disease, often in the form of heart attack or stroke. Over the long term, high cholesterol can cause plaque to form in your arteries, which can then narrow and lead to a cardiovascular emergency.

Your Body Naturally Makes Cholesterol

One of the biggest things we see is that people think their cholesterol levels are more tied to what they eat than they really are, said Dr. Kirley, adding that people tend to think if my cholesterol levels are high, that means I should eat less cholesterol.

The amount of cholesterol that you eat, doesn’t actually impact your own cholesterol very much, she noted. And that’s because your body is making cholesterol. It makes cholesterol no matter what. Even if you eat no cholesterol, your body makes cholesterol.

What you eat matters, but it has less impact on cholesterol levels than a lot of people might realize, Dr. Kirley said.

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Medications To Treat High Cholesterol

For most people who need medication to manage high cholesterol, doctors will prescribe statins. Statins, also known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of drugs that prevent cholesterol from forming in the liver, where both LDL and HDL cholesterol are made. This lowers the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. They are most effective at lowering LDL cholesterol but can also lower triglycerides and HDL cholesterol.

If you have certain conditions, or if statins arent working to decrease your high cholesterol sufficiently, your doctor may prescribe one of these other cholesterol-lowering medications:

  • PCSK9 Inhibitors A newer type of medicine, PCSK9 inhibitors bind to and inactivate a protein on certain liver cells, which then lowers LDL cholesterol. Administered by injection, they are often used in patients with high cholesterol that doesnt respond to statins or people with familial hypercholesterolemia.
  • Selective Cholesterol Absorption Inhibitors The most commonly used nonstatin agent, according to the AHA, selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors prevent cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine. This means less cholesterol is delivered to the liver and, ultimately, the blood.
  • Bile Acid Sequestrants Also known as bile-acid-binding agents, these drugs work by removing bile acids from the liver. Since LDL cholesterol is needed to make bile acids, the body then breaks down more LDL cholesterol particles.

What To Do When High Cholesterol Runs In Your Family

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Because high cholesterol doesnt have any symptoms, its not something thats commonly on peoples radar. Even if it is, people often dont take it seriously until they have a heart attack or stroke. And while we tend to think of those events as happening to an older population, people under the age of 55 can also be affected, especially if they were born with high cholesterol.

This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia . FH is an inherited disorder that makes it harder for your body to remove low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from your blood. The result? From childhood, cholesterol builds up along the walls of your arteries and veins, narrowing the passageways and drastically increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke at a very early age.

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What Causes High Cholesterol

Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.

Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .

You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.

Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .

Can I Pass Fh To My Kids

If you inherited FH from one parent, theres a 50% chance youll pass it on to your children. If both of your parents passed the FH trait to you, your children will definitely have FH. Thats why its crucial to get children with a family history tested at an early age and begin cholesterol-reducing treatment for those with FH.

People with FH are usually not diagnosed until their 30s or 40s or later. Unfortunately, far too few are diagnosed as children. But early treatment can significantly impact a persons lifetime cardiovascular health by lowering their long-term exposure to high cholesterol levels, Martin advises. The treatment keeps their arteries healthier and prevents premature heart attacks and strokes.

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Having High Cholesterol And Triglyceride Levels Increases Your Risk For:

A. The buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances on your artery walls that makes them narrower

The correct answer is all of the above. When plaque builds up on your artery walls, blood clots can form that block blood flow to the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor about how you can lower your risk for heart disease.

Nutrition And Dietary Supplements

What is Cholesterol?

In addition to eating a healthy diet, low in saturated fat, with plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, some specific foods and supplements may help lower cholesterol.

Fiber: Several studies show that soluble fiber lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Fiber can also help you lose weight because it makes you feel full. Your doctor will encourage you to get more fiber in your diet. You may also take a fiber supplement. Men should get 30 to 38 g of fiber per day. Women should get 21 to 25 g per day.

Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in oat bran and other plants. It slightly reduces LDL cholesterol, which is why oat bran is touted as a cholesterol-lowering food.

Soy: Many studies have shown that eating soy protein , rather than animal meat, helps lower blood cholesterol levels, especially when you eat a diet low in saturated fat. One study found that as little as 20 g of soy protein per day is effective in reducing total cholesterol, and that 40 to 50 g shows faster effects . Another study found that soy can help reduce triglyceride levels. The AHA recommends that people with elevated total and LDL cholesterol add soy to their daily diet, and that soy is safe when consumed as part of your regular diet. But talk to your doctor before you take soy supplements. Soy isoflavones may have estrogen-like effects in the body, which might lead to an increased risk of breast and other cancers.

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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed

You cant tell if you have high cholesterol without having it checked. A simple blood test will reveal your cholesterol level.

Men 35 years of age and older and women 45 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked. Men and women 20 years of age and older who have risk factors for heart disease should have their cholesterol checked. Teens may need to be checked if they are taking certain medicines or have a strong family history of high cholesterol. Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol checked.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Having an immediate family member who has had heart disease.
  • Being overweight or obese.
  • Inactivity.

What Doctors Wish Patients Knew About High Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a common health condition in the United States. In fact, nearly 94 million adults over the age of 20 have what could be considered borderline high cholesterol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet because this condition often presents without symptoms, many are not aware they have high cholesterol until they visit their doctor.

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Who Should Be Tested

Your GP may recommend that you have your blood cholesterol levels tested if you:

  • have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, stroke or mini-stroke , or peripheral arterial disease
  • are over the age of 40 people over 40 should have their estimate of CVD risk reviewed regularly
  • have a family history of early cardiovascular disease for example, if your father or brother developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had these conditions before the age of 65
  • have a close family member who has a cholesterol-related condition, such as familial hypercholesterolaemia
  • are overweight or obese
  • have high blood pressure or diabetes
  • have another medical condition, such as kidney disease, an underactive thyroid, or an inflamed pancreas these conditions can cause increased levels of cholesterol or triglycerides

Other Health Conditions Play A Role

The Good And Bad Of Cholesterol

There are many factors that contribute to high cholesterol like genetic family history and our environments, said Dr. Kirley, noting that we dont necessarily understand very well how our environments contribute to our cholesterol levels yet.

But having other health conditions can definitely impact your cholesterol levels, she said. For example, having type 2 diabetes and other inflammatory conditions can impact your cholesterol levels.

Other medications that you take can also impact your cholesterol levels, she added.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia usually has no symptoms, so many people may not be aware that they have high cholesterol. As such, its important to have your cholesterol levels checked with a blood test.

Very high levels of LDL cholesterol may cause symptoms, but this tends to occur in people who have a family history of high cholesterol. These symptoms include:

  • Gray-white rings around the corneas

The Focus Isnt On Specific Levels

We’ve actually gotten away from hard and fast levels of cholesterol for people, said Dr. Kirley. We look at their cholesterol numbers along with a number of other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

This includes things like your blood pressure and whether you have diabetes, and we estimate your overall risk for heart attack and stroke and how much cholesterol plays into that, she said. Then we may recommend taking a medication that lowers cholesterol if we think it will help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

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High Blood Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a fat that your body needs to work properly. Too much bad cholesterol can increase your chance of getting heart disease, stroke, and other problems.

The medical term for high blood cholesterol is lipid disorder, hyperlipidemia, or hypercholesterolemia.

Test Your Cholesterol Knowledge

How Is Familial Hypercholesterolemia Treated

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For adults with FH, a treatment plan usually includes one of several types of cholesterol-lowering medication and lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and exercise. Children diagnosed with FH can be safely prescribed statins from age 10 and up.

The most common kinds of treatments for adults include the following:

  • Statins. This class of drugs reduces LDL cholesterol levels. Statins are usually prescribed as the first treatment option. Examples include atorvastatin and rosuvastatin .
  • Bile acid sequestrants. This is an older type of drug that, on its own or in combination with statins, can also lower LDL cholesterol levels. Examples include cholestyramine and colesevelam .
  • PCSK9 inhibitors. First approved in 2015 specifically for FH, this newer class of drugs may be prescribed together with other cholesterol-lowering drugs. Examples include alirocumab and evolocumab .
  • LDL apheresis. If oral medications are not effectively lowering LDL cholesterol levels, then a medical procedure called apheresis might be recommended, and it can be helpful for young children, too. In this procedure, the patients blood is filtered through a machinesimilar to what happens during kidney dialysisto remove LDL cholesterol.
  • Liver transplantation. This is an alternative therapy to apheresis. If a liver transplant is available, it is preferred to apheresis as no regular therapy is needed. Unfortunately, the number of liver transplants available in this country is limited.

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