What are lipids?
Fats in the blood are called lipids. Lipids join with protein in your blood to form lipoproteins. Lipoproteins make energy for your body, so they're important to the cells in your body.
Three kinds of lipoproteins, (also called cholesterol), re in your blood:
(1) High-density (also called HDL, for short) cholesterol,
(2) Low-density (also called LDL) cholesterol and
(3) Very low-density (VLDL) cholesterol.
- HDL is sometimes called the “good cholesterol” because it keeps cholesterol from buiding up in your arteries.
- LDL can be thought of as the “bad” cholesterol because high LDL levels can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
- What is a normal total cholesterol level
- A normal total cholesterol level is 200 mg per dL or less.
What is a normal LDL level?
A normal LDL level is 130 mg per dL or less. When the LDL level is higher than 130, fat can build up in the walls of your blood vessels. This fat can plug up your arteries and keep the blood from flowing through them. If an artery going to your heart gets blocked, you might have a heart attack. If an artery going to your brain gets blocked, you might have a stroke. A high LDL level causes heart disease, stroke, poor circulation and kidney disease.
What causes high levels of fat in the blood?
Most people have high levels of fat in their blood because they eat too much high-fat food. Some people have high fat levels because they have an inherited disorder. High lipid levels may also be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, alcoholism, kidney disease, liver disease and stress. In some people, certain medicines, such as birth control pills, steroids and blood pressure medicines can cause high lipid levels.
Are there any signs of high cholesterol levels?
Often there are no signs. Without a blood test, you may not know you have high levels of fat in your blood until you have a heart attack or a stroke. Some people with high lipid levels have yellowish, fatty bumps on their skin.
What is the treatment for high lipid levels?
The first ways to reduce your lipid levels are
(1) Eat less fat,
(2) Exercise regularly and
(3) Lose weight if you weigh too much. If you smoke, stop smoking. If these steps don't lower your LDL level enough, your doctor may have you take medicine to take the fat out of your blood.
What are some ways to cut down on fat in my diet?
- •Don't eat fried foods or high-fat sauces.
- Instead of frying meat, broil it or grill it.
- Don't eat egg yolks. You can eat egg whites or egg substitutes.
- Use low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk or 1% milk, low-fat frozen yogurt, low-fat ice cream and low-fat cheeses.
- Don't use whole milk, full-fat ice cream, sour cream, cheese or milk chocolate.
- Put more fiber in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber. Eat three to five servings of vegetables a day and two to four servings of fruits.
What about exercise
Aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, bicycling and swimming, are a good way to lower your blood cholesterol. Exercise also lowers your blood pressure, your blood sugar level and your stress level. If you weigh too much, aerobic exercise helps you burn calories. That will help you lose weight. Aerobic exercise should be done on a regular basis: work up to exercising for 30 minutes at a time four or five times a week. You can also exercise for a shorter time, such as 10 to 15 minutes. But if you exercise for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time, you need to exercise more often than four or five times a week.
What about cholesterol-lowering medicine?
- Medicines to lower your cholesterol level may be used if you are at high risk for heart disease or if your lipid levels don't drop after you have eaten a low-fat diet for a couple of months.
- There are different kinds of medicine that lower cholesterol. You may need to take just one medicine or you may need to take more than one, depending on how high your cholesterol is. Your doctor will take blood tests every so often to check on your cholesterol level and find out if the medicine is working.
Focus on Monounsaturated Fats
- As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way they are used in the body. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
- Although some recommend a low-fat diet for weight loss, a study of 10 men found a 6-week, low-fat diet reduced levels of harmful LDL, but also reduced beneficial HDL.
- In contrast, a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduced harmful LDL, but also protected higher levels of healthy HDL.
Here are a few great sources of monounsaturated fats. Some are also good sources of polyunsaturated fat:
- Olives and olive oil
- Canola oil
- Tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts,
- pecans, hazelnuts and cashews
Use Polyunsaturated Fats, Especially Omega-3s
- Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Polyunsaturated fats also seem to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. They’re found in seafood and fish oil supplements (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
- Omega-3 fats are found in high amounts in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore, and to a lesser degree in shellfish including shrimp .
- All polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy and may reduce the risk of diabetes. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat with extra heart benefits.
Avoid Trans Fats
- Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation.
- This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable as an ingredient. Many margarines and shortenings are made of partially hydrogenated oils.
- This is why food companies have used trans fats in products like spreads, pastries and cookies — they provide more texture than unsaturated, liquid oils.
- Find the diet that’s right for you with our free diet quiz
- Our free assessment ranks the best diets for you based on your answers to 3 quick questions.
Eat Soluble Fiber
- Soluble fiber is a group of different compounds in plants that dissolve in water and that humans can’t digest.
- Soluble fiber can also help increase the cholesterol benefits of taking a statin medication.
- Some of the best sources of soluble fiber include beans, peas and lentils, fruit, oats and whole grains. Fiber supplements like psyllium are also safe and inexpensive sources.
- Exercise is a win-win for heart health. Not only does it improve physical fitness and help combat obesity, but it also reduces harmful LDL and increases beneficial HDL
- These women exercised three days per week with 15 minutes each of aerobic activity including walking and jumping jacks, resistance-band training and low-intensity Korean dance.
- While even low-intensity exercise like walking increases HDL, making your exercise longer and more intense increases the benefit Ideally, aerobic activity should raise the heart rate to about 75% of its maximum. Resistance training should be 50% of maximum effort.
- Any type of exercise improves cholesterol and promotes heart health. The longer and more intense the exercise, the greater the benefit.
- Dieting influences the way your body absorbs and produces cholesterol.
- Over these two years, “good” HDL increased while “bad” LDL did not change, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Weight loss reduces total cholesterol, in part by decreasing the creation of new cholesterol in the liver. Weight loss has had different, though generally beneficial, effects on HDL and LDL in different studies.
- Smoking increases the risk of heart disease in several ways. One of these is by changing how the body handles cholesterol.
Use alcohol in moderation
- When used in moderation, the ethanol in alcoholic drinks increases HDL and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- 1–2 drinks per day may improve HDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of clogged arteries. However, heavier alcohol use increases heart disease risk and harms the liver.
Consider plant sterols and stanols
- Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
- Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
- Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.
Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
Psyllium is a form of soluble fiber available as a supplement.
- Coenzyme Q10 is a food chemical that helps cells produce energy. It is similar to a vitamin, except that the body can produce its own Q10, preventing deficiency.
- Even if there is no deficiency, extra Q10 in the form of supplements may have benefits in some situations.
- Fish oil supplements and soluble fiber supplements like psyllium improve cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Coenzyme Q10 supplements reduce total cholesterol levels, but it’s unclear whether this prevents heart disease.
- The bottom line
- Cholesterol has important functions in the body, but can cause clogged arteries and heart disease when it gets out of control.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is prone to free radical damage and contributes most to heart disease. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) protects against heart disease by carrying cholesterol away from vessel walls and back to the liver.
- If your cholesterol is out of balance, lifestyle interventions are the first line of treatment.
- Unsaturated fats, soluble fiber and plant sterols and stanols can increase good HDL and decrease bad LDL. Exercise and weight loss can also help.
- Eating Trans fats and smoking is harmful and should be avoided.
- If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, have them checked by your doctor. A simple blood draw, taken after an overnight fast, is all that’s required.
Ayurvedic Drugs Useful in Hyperlipidimia
- Lasun (Garlic)
- Lasunadi Vati
- Coriandrum sativuam -1TBS
- Cuminum cyminum -1TBS
- Foeniculum vulgare- 1 TBS
- Curcuma longa -1/2 TBS
- Elettaria cardamomum -1/2TBS