Dyslipidemia is a compact word that indicates abnormal, usually higher than average, levels of lipids or cholesterol in the blood. If you have dyslipidemia, you are more likely to get a cardiovascular disease. (1) Needless to say, it is crucial that you keep your lipids under control.
Here, we outline the current treatments for dyslipidemia. (1,2) If your lipid/cholesterol levels are even slightly high, you might want to modify your lifestyle. Remember, even a small decrease in cholesterol levels markedly reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (1)
1. Smoking cessation
This is one of the most important factors that affects your cholesterol levels. If you smoke, you should strongly consider quitting. There are many ways in which you could do this. Doing so will not only bring your lipids back on track but also stabilise many other parameters of your cardiovascular health, such as blood pressure.
2. Diet and nutrition
There are many diets that you could follow: low-carb, low-fat, calorie counting, etc. You could even hire a nutritionist to help you out. Though it’s debatable as to which diet is the best, it’s well known that healthy eating usually does the trick. So, why don’t you start eating healthy from today?
Another crucial factor is weight loss, which is known for its myriad of benefits, including lowering of cholesterol levels. Additionally, losing weight not only makes you feel good but also look good.
4. Physical activity
There is no shortage of studies that prove time and again that physical exercise (primarily aerobic exercise along with some muscle-building workout), at least once or twice a week, is immensely helpful across the cardiovascular and metabolic disease chart, i.e., cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and more. However, just an evening walk in the park won’t do; you need to clock in at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise every week.
Modern life with its credit cards, college fees, and EMIs brings in a lot of stress, which directly harms your cardiovascular health in many ways. If you don’t already do these, you should consider starting yoga, meditation or pranayama classes (or better yet, go for all three).
Statins are a household name when it comes to diabetes or heart health in overweight people. These drugs have been, and continue to be, the cornerstone of dyslipidemia treatment. They are effective in reducing bad cholesterol, which then reduces the risk of complications.
2. Cholestyramine, niacin (nicotinic acid), and ezetimibe
For people who cannot tolerate statins, one of the following cholesterol-lowering medications is used. Sometimes, these may be added along with statin if it’s extremely difficult to bring the cholesterol down to acceptable levels.
3. Newer medications
Science continues to progress every day, and people with dyslipidemia have not been ignored in this process. Newer medications (e.g., alirocumab and evolocumab) have been released, and others are being tested as you read this. (3) However, these drugs take time to get evaluated and tested thoroughly, and they will not be free of side effects. So, do not cancel your gym membership yet!
If you have high cholesterol levels, do not despair. Treat them as a warning sign. Change your sedentary lifestyle and seek treatment when needed. Effective medicines are available, but they have a limited potential (e.g., only lower cholesterol), whereas lifestyle modifications have across-the-board benefits.
- Anderson TJ, Gregoire J, Pearson GJ, Barry AR, Couture P, Dawes M, et al. 2016 Canadian Cardiovascular Society guidelines for the management of dyslipidemia for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in the adult. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 2016 Nov 1;32(11):1263-82.
- Carreras ET, Polk DM. Dyslipidemia: Current therapies and guidelines for treatment. US Cardiol. Rev. 2017;11:10-5.
- Rader DJ. New therapeutic approaches to the treatment of dyslipidemia. Cell metabolism. 2016 Mar 8;23(3):405-12.