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HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMIA AND TREATMENT



 HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMIA AND TREATMENT

Hypercholesterolemia also known as High cholesterol is a waxy substance that's found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it's often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.

SYMPTOMS
High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol.
When to see a doctor?
Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test at age 20 and then have your cholesterol retested at least every five years. If your test results aren't within desirable ranges, your doctor may recommend more frequent measurements. Your doctor may also suggest you have more frequent tests if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure.

CAUSES
Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein. You may have heard of different types of cholesterol, based on what type of cholesterol the lipoprotein carries. They are:
*Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or "bad," cholesterol transports cholesterol particles throughout your body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
*Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).This type of lipoprotein contains the most triglycerides, a type of fat, attached to the proteins in your blood. VLDL cholesterol makes LDL cholesterol larger in size, causing your blood vessels to narrow. If you're taking cholesterol-lowering medication but have a high VLDL level, you may need additional medication to lower your triglycerides.
*High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL, or "good," cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
Factors within your control — such as inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet — contribute to high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. Factors beyond your control may play a role, too. For example, your genetic makeup may keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol from your blood efficiently or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.

RISK FACTORS
You're more likely to have high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease if you have any of these risk factors:
*Smoking. Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking may also lower your level of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.
*Obesity. Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
*Large waist circumference. Your risk increases if you are a man with a waist circumference of at least 40 inches (102 centimeters) or a woman with a waist circumference of at least 35 inches (89 centimeters).
*Poor diet. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will increase your total cholesterol. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers, also can raise your cholesterol level.
*Lack of exercise. Exercise helps boost your body's HDL "good" cholesterol while lowering your LDL "bad" cholesterol. Not getting enough exercise puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
*Diabetes. High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.

COMPLICATIONS
High cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, a dangerous accumulation of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of your arteries. These deposits (plaques) can reduce blood flow through your arteries, which can cause complications, such as:
*Chest pain. If the arteries that supply your heart with blood (coronary arteries) are affected, you may have chest pain (angina) and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
*Heart attack. If plaques tear or rupture, a blood clot may form at the plaque-rupture site — blocking the flow of blood or breaking free and plugging an artery downstream. If blood flow to part of your heart stops, you'll have a heart attack.
*Stroke. Similar to a heart attack, if blood flow to part of your brain is blocked by a blood clot, a stroke occurs.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
If you think you may have high cholesterol, or are worried about having high cholesterol because of a strong family history, make an appointment with your family doctor to have your cholesterol level checked.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS
A blood test to check cholesterol levels — called a lipid panel or lipid profile — typically reports:
*Total cholesterol
*LDL cholesterol
*HDL cholesterol
*Triglycerides — a type of fat in the blood
For the most accurate measurements, don't eat or drink anything (other than water) for nine to 12 hours before the blood sample is taken.
You're considered to be at a high risk of heart disease if you:
*Have had a previous heart attack or stroke
*Have artery blockages in your neck (carotid artery disease)
*Have artery blockages in your arms or legs (peripheral artery disease)
*Have known diabetes that requires treatment
In addition, two or more of the following risk factors might also place you in the high-risk group:
*Smoking
*High blood pressure
*Low HDL cholesterol
*Family history of early heart disease
*Age older than 45 if you're a man, or older than 55 if you're a woman
*Elevated lipoprotein (a), another type of fat (lipid) in your blood

TREATMENTS
Lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating a healthy diet are the first line of defense against high cholesterol. But, if you've made these important lifestyle changes and your cholesterol levels remains high, your doctor may recommend medication.
The specific choice of medication or combination of medications depends on various factors, including your individual risk factors, your age, your current health and possible side effects. Common choices include:
*Statins. Statins — among the most commonly prescribed medications for lowering cholesterol — block a substance your liver needs to make cholesterol. This causes your liver to remove cholesterol from your blood. Statins may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol from built-up deposits on your artery walls, potentially reversing coronary artery disease.
*Bile-acid-binding resins. Your liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, a substance needed for digestion. This prompts your liver to use excess cholesterol to make more bile acids, which reduces the level of cholesterol in your blood.
*Cholesterol absorption inhibitors. Your small intestine absorbs the cholesterol from your diet and releases it into your bloodstream. These Medicines help reduce blood cholesterol by limiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
*Combination cholesterol absorption inhibitor and statin. This Medicine decreases both absorption of dietary cholesterol in your small intestine and production of cholesterol in your liver.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES
The same heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can lower your cholesterol can help prevent you from having high cholesterol in the first place. To help prevent high cholesterol, you can:
*Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight
*Quit smoking
*Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet that includes many fruits, vegetables and whole grains
*Exercise on most days of the week for at least 30 minutes
*Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
If you choose to take cholesterol-lowering supplements, remember the importance of a healthy lifestyle. If your doctor prescribes medication to reduce your cholesterol, take it as directed. Make sure your doctor knows which supplements you're taking as well.
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Mtonga Isaac Pharmacy,
Ng'ombe Township,
#16/24 Off Zambezi road,
Email: mtongaisaacpharmacy@gmail.com,
Tel: +260974272433/+260966399444,
Lusaka, Zambia.
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