Dyslipidemia is a condition characterized by abnormal levels of cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. This condition can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or genetic abnormalities. Dyslipidemia is often asymptomatic until complications arise, such as stroke or heart attack.
Fat is important in aiding the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K), protecting the body's organs, and forming hormones. There are several types of fat in the body, such as cholesterol and triglycerides . The levels of these fats can be too high or too low.
The most common type of dyslipidemia is hyperlipidemia, which is when lipid (fat) levels are too high. Meanwhile, another form of dyslipidemia that occurs more rarely is hypolipidemia, which is when lipid levels are too low.
Fat levels in the human body are measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). The following are the normal limits of fat levels in the human body:
- Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol: above 60 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: below 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: below 150 mg/dL
Patients with dyslipidemia usually do not realize if the lipid levels in their blood are abnormal. As a result, most sufferers do not get treatment faster.
Causes of Dyslipidemia
Based on the cause, dyslipidemia is divided into two, namely primary and secondary dyslipidemia. Primary dyslipidemia is a hereditary disease that usually occurs as a result of genetic mutations.
Primary dyslipidemia can be in the form of familial hyperlipidemia, polygenic hypercholesterolemia, or familial hyperapobetalipoproteinemia.
While secondary dyslipidemia is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or due to certain conditions. Some unhealthy lifestyles that can increase a person's risk of experiencing dyslipidemia are:
- Smoking habits
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Rarely exercise or do physical activity
- Unhealthy eating patterns, namely high intake of foods high in saturated fat , as well as lack of intake of vegetables and fruit
While some diseases or conditions that can also increase the risk of dyslipidemia are:
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Overweight or obesity
- The use of certain drugs, such as birth control pills, antidepressants, and corticosteroid drugs
Symptoms of Dyslipidemia
Dyslipidemia is a condition that does not cause definite symptoms. For this reason, the best way to know the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides in the blood is to undergo a fat profile blood test.
However, in some cases, severe dyslipidemia can cause symptoms in the form of yellow bumps around the eyes and eyelids ( xanthelasma ).
When should you go to the doctor?
It is recommended to perform a lipid profile screening test every 1–2 years for young adults and once every 1 year for the elderly. If the test results show cholesterol levels that are not within the normal range, check with a doctor to get the right treatment.
Immediately seek medical help to the IGD at the nearest hospital if you experience emergency signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as:
- Sudden severe chest pain accompanied by nausea, cold sweats, and shortness of breath
- One side of the body experienced sudden weakness
- Speak pelo suddenly
- Decreased consciousness
Diagnosis of Dyslipidemia
The doctor will do a question and answer session with the patient regarding diet and lifestyle, as well as family history. Next, the doctor will perform a lipid profile blood test to detect total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.
Be aware that consuming food and drink can affect cholesterol levels. Therefore, the doctor will recommend the patient to fast first for at least 12 hours before the blood test begins.
In addition, blood tests are also performed to detect high sensitivity C-reaction protein (hs-CRP), lipoprotein A, and apolipoprotein B.
The doctor can also recommend a CT scan of the heart. The purpose is to check if dyslipidemia has caused complications.
Treatment of Dyslipidemia
The treatment of dyslipidemia is adapted to the severity and type of fat that has increased or decreased. The main method recommended by doctors is lifestyle changes, namely by:
- Change the diet by increasing the intake of vegetables, fruits, oatmeal , and grains
- Limit the consumption of foods that contain a lot of saturated fat and high sugar
- Adequate intake of foods containing omega - 3
- Increase physical activity by exercising for at least 30 minutes every day
- Avoiding the consumption of alcoholic beverages
- Stop smoking
In addition to the above efforts, treatment for severe dyslipidemia is by administering statin drugs . Statins work to help reduce LDL levels by inhibiting lipid production in the liver. Some types of statin drugs that can be prescribed are:
The drugs are given if the level of fat in the blood has reached the following numbers:
- LDL levels over 190 mg/dL
- HDL levels less than 40 mg/dL in men or 50 mg/dL in women
- Triglyceride levels over 200 mg/dL
In addition to statin drugs, some other drugs that can also be prescribed to patients are ezetimibe , fibrates, PCSK9 inhibitors, vitamin B3 , bempedoic acid, and omega-3 supplements.
Complications of Dyslipidemia
Dyslipidemia that is not treated can cause the accumulation of fat in the walls of blood vessels or atherosclerosis . If left untreated, atherosclerosis risks causing various health complications over time, such as:
- Heart attack
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral artery disease
Prevention of Dyslipidemia
Secondary dyslipidemia can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. Efforts that can be made include:
- Stop smoking
- Exercise regularly and do physical activity
- Meet the need for sleep and rest
- Consume healthy and balanced nutritious food
- Limit eating foods that are saturated fat
- Manage stress well
- Maintain an ideal weight
Meanwhile, primary dyslipidemia is difficult to prevent. If you suffer from this disease, undergo treatment and routine check-ups with your doctor to prevent complications from dyslipidemia.