Hyperlipidemia or hypercholestemia

Hyperlipidemia is fancy word for too much fat in the bloodstream, the consequences of which can be very bad. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cell membranes which are the coverings of the cells of the body which are always being made. The body is continually breaking down and building new cells of every kind, so it needs a constant supply of nutrients for this purpose. Much of the cholesterol is built by our livers. The liver is a manufacturing plant of many chemicals that our body needs to function. Cholesterol is also needed by the body to build bile acids and steroid hormones. Bile acids help break down fats in the gut so they can be absorbed by the body. The steroid hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol and many others perform many functions in the body that are necessary and make us who we are, so cholesterol is good, just not too much of it in the wrong places.

Dietary fat is packaged into particles called chylomicrons in the intestine. These chylomicrons are needed  so the body can upload fat.  They function as transporters of the fats to the liver and external cells of the body where they may be stored as fat. The portions that go to the liver are converted into other type of fats. The chylomicrons are the least dense of the lipoproteins in the body and contain triglycerides. These triglycerides can also be stored as fat in the fat cells around the body or used as fuel for energy.  The liver takes these chylomicrons and thru a series of steps creates different types of lipoproteins which vary in size and function. The types are very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) which contain triglyceride and protein, low density lipoprotein (LDL) which contain cholesterol and protein and high density lipoprotein (HDL) which contain phospholipids and protein (McCance & Huether).

It has been found that high levels of LDL in the bloodstream can be a strong predictor of the potential for heart disease. LDL cholesterol actually is able to cause damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels and causes collection of debris on these walls and over time can cause the damaging potential obstruction of blood flow to begin.
In the contrary, high levels of HDL has been found to be a strong protector against heart disease and lower levels of HDL is a bad indicator for heart disease. HDL actually is thought to repair the damages caused by LDL cholesterol although the exact mechanisms of this repair process is unknown. One thus wants to have high levels of HDL or “good cholesterol” and low levels of LDL or “bad cholesterol” in the blood. Other lipoproteins associated with increased risk of heart disease are higher levels of VLDLs (triglycerides) and an increased lipoprotein a especially in women.

High levels of saturated fat intake and a genetic tendency to form greater amounts of these fats and this fact puts those patients at risk for heart problems and or stroke. The typical American diet is too high in saturated fats which are solid at room temperature and found in meats, eggs, fried foods, lard, butter, cheeses and other foods. Saturated fat should be limited to less than 7% of the diet. High intake levels of cholesterol are also a problem and should be limited to less than 200mg per day. One should increase the intake of plant sterols and stanols to two grams per day. An increase of soluble fiber to 10-25 grams per day should be consumed.

Those patients with other conditions such as obesity, tobacco dependance, diabetes, high blood pressure, strong family history of early onset heart disease, men over 45 years and women over 55 years or low HDL levels should be more cautious and need to take steps to correct diet intake problems and need to have regular monitoring.

There are many other indicators which are known and readily discovered by simple and painless fasting blood tests. You should know what your blood levels of these fats are? If you do not know and do not have a practitioner who is monitoring these tests, call our office at 817-274-2343 and we can send you down to the lab for these simple inexpensive tests. If you have these problems and have blood tests that indicate need for action, we can help you with the lifestyle changes, medication and other measures to help ensure that you have every opportunity to live a long healthy life.

Call us today for an immediate appointment 817-274-2343

  1. Pathophysiology: The biological basis for disease in adults and children, Kathryn McCance and Sue Huether.