Being overweight or obese is associated with many health risks. If you’re overweight, you’re more likely to develop heart disease, for example, along with numerous other chronic conditions. But when you hear about those kinds of health risks, you probably think about your waist size or the number on the scale. You may not consider the fat that’s stored in your blood.
You read that right: you store fat in your blood. When you have too much fat in your blood it’s called hyperlipidemia. “Hyper” is too much, “lipid” means fat, and “emia” refers to blood, so the word literally means too much fat in the blood.
At Optimal Performance Medicine, Dr. Michael Skardasis has earned a reputation for being a doctor who helps patients take fewer medications instead of more. He has the experience and knowledge to diagnose and effectively treat hyperlipidemia, often through lifestyle interventions.
Types of lipids
Hyperlipidemia may also be called high cholesterol, although lipids include both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), as well as triglycerides. HDL is commonly referred to as “good cholesterol” and LDL is called “bad cholesterol.”
When you have hyperlipidemia, you likely have high triglycerides and high LDL, both of which increase your risk of heart disease, vascular disease, and other chronic conditions. HDL is beneficial and helps remove fat from your body.
How to treat hyperlipidemia
The first line of treatment for hyperlipidemia is the same as for ridding yourself of any excess fat: proper nutrition and exercise.
It’s easy for doctors to tell patients to eat healthful food, move more, and lose weight. However, as you likely already know, it’s not so easy to do on your own. At Optimal Performance Medicine, our team can help you by offering specific nutrition information and by suggesting exercise that fits into your life.
Choose foods that are high in fiber, such as leafy green vegetables and legumes, and low in trans fats, which are common in processed food and fast food. These two simple changes that can make a major difference in lowering your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Another positive change is to add fish to your menu once or twice a week.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Even if you can only fit in 10 or 15 minutes at a time, exercise can be a very effective way to improve your hyperlipidemia.
If you’re not sure where to start with exercise, discuss your concerns with Dr. Skardasis. You may need to begin by taking short walks and work your way up to more demanding exercise.
Hyperlipidemia doesn’t have any symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems down the road. You can’t feel your LDL cholesterol rising in the way you can see the number on the scale getting higher. The only way to know for sure that you have hyperlipidemia is to have a blood test.
If your diet could use some improvement or you have a family history of high cholesterol, or if you just haven’t had a checkup in a while, book an appointment at Optimal Performance Medicine. You can use our easy online scheduling tool, or you can call 678-210-6515 to book your appointment.