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Cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia

Definition of hypercholesterolemia

Cholesterol is an essential component of cells and the production of certain hormones, cholesterol is essential to life. Its excess cholesterol in the blood leads instead to negative effects on health, including the formation of plaques on the walls of arteries is atherosclerosis responsible for cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke ...) .

Normal levels of cholesterol appreciate based on blood tests and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Risks and sources of cholesterol

Excess cholesterol contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death and disability in developed countries.

As such, and alongside other factors cardiovascular risk against which he must fight (smoking, physical inactivity, stress, diabetes, hypertension, obesity ...), hypercholesterolemia and the world a major public health.

Causes and mechanisms of cholesterol

Cholesterol is produced by the liver and supplied in the diet (animal foods, but some plant foods rich in saturated fatty acids). Depending on food intake, the liver adapts its output to maintain blood lipid levels within normal limits. The dietary excesses but genetics play a role in this balance may rupture, causing hypercholesterolemia.

Symptoms and signs of hypercholesterolemia

Excess cholesterol in the blood is very long silent. It was only after several years, when the arteries are clogged, the first symptoms appear such as chest pain (angina), lower limbs (arteritis) or stroke.

The only way to know your cholesterol is to achieve a lipid with a blood test.

With what should we be confused?

It should not be confused hypercholesterolemia related to lifestyle, such as eating and familial, hereditary, called familial hypercholesterolemia that affects 10 million people worldwide.

In addition, there is a "good" and "bad" cholesterol: HDL (high density lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol lead to the liver and have an effect "cleaner" in the blood vessels LDL (low density lipoproteins: low-density lipoprotein) the lead on the walls of arteries.

Is there a prevention possible?

Dietary treatment is essential. It is based on limiting the intake of saturated fatty acids (animal fats such as fatty meats, dairy fat), increased consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 (fish), an increase in consumption fiber and micronutrients naturally present in fruits, vegetables and grain products and limiting dietary cholesterol (butter, meats, cheeses, cream ...).

A support for risk factors is required: smoking cessation, balancing a type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure, reduce alcohol consumption and the fight against inactivity.

Cholesterol and hypercholesterolemia Preparing consultation

When to consult?

Only testing can detect an excess of cholesterol. This screening made ​​from a blood fasting based on EAL (exploration of a lipid abnormality), which determines the concentrations of total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. All adults should be screened, but it is not justified to repeat this assessment more than once every 5 years when normal and the absence of any new medical (weight gain, shortness of breath, pain in the chest stress, etc..).

In case of chest pain, pain in the legs when walking or signs of stroke (paralysis, loss of vision even transient ...), it is essential to consult emergency (ambulance).

What does the doctor if cholesterol?

From the blood tests and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the doctor can assess the overall risk and decide on a treatment. The measurement of fasting plasma glucose (blood sugar) is performed routinely and other complementary examinations are based on patients (electrocardiogram ...).

Dietary treatment was the first treatment. It is always associated with regular physical activity advice, eg, brisk walking daily for 30 minutes. If there is insufficient after 3 months of lipid-lowering drugs called can be added.

How to prepare my next visit?

A balanced diet plays an important role. Therefore, it may be important to note foods eaten during a week-type, for example to correct bad habits and your doctor determine the best plan to adopt.

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