Main Street Medical
Urgent Care and Family Practice located in Hilton Head, SC
It’s not always easy to make healthy diet choices. Sometimes eating all the wrong things can have serious health consequences, like developing hyperlipidemia. At Main Street Medical in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Joel Johnson III, MD, offers diagnostic and management services to control your hyperlipidemia (or high cholesterol) levels effectively, with or without medication. Dr. Johnson also provides comprehensive guidance to help you increase your fitness level and prevent coronary disease. To learn more about managing your cholesterol levels, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.
Hyperlipidemia Q & A
What is hyperlipidemia?
Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, is a condition that happens when you have abnormally high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol fats in your bloodstream. This condition is more commonly known as high cholesterol.
Your body makes triglycerides and cholesterol naturally. It produces triglycerides when it stores excess calories from the foods you eat that it doesn’t need for energy. Triglycerides are also found in red meats and whole-fat dairy products. Your liver produces cholesterol that's also present in meats, cheeses, and eggs.
These fats travel on lipoproteins through your bloodstream. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it begins to accumulate on the blood vessel walls and forms plaque. Deposits of plaque continue to increase in size, eventually clogging up your arteries and leading to heart attacks, coronary disease, and stroke.
How is hyperlipidemia diagnosed?
Dr. Johnson can diagnose hyperlipidemia through a lipid panel blood test. You may need to fast for 12 hours before your blood work to get an accurate reading. The lipid panel measures your:
- Total cholesterol
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
LDL cholesterol is a bad form of cholesterol that causes build up in your arteries, ultimately leading to hyperlipidemia. HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol that helps to remove bad cholesterol by taking it away from the arteries and back to your liver.
What causes hyperlipidemia?
Unhealthy lifestyle choices are the leading cause of hyperlipidemia. These habits include:
- Having a large waist
- Lacking sufficient exercise
- Excessive alcohol use
- Poor dietary habits
Some medical conditions, like diabetes and kidney disease, can elevate cholesterol levels. If you take certain birth control pills or antidepressant medications, you may also be at risk for high cholesterol.
What treatments are available for hyperlipidemia?
Dr. Johnson may initially recommend changing your eating habits to include more healthy fats commonly found in chicken and fish. You should also incorporate low-fat or fat-free dairy products into your diet and increase your fiber intake to lower cholesterol levels without medication.
Besides a healthy diet plan, you should also add more exercise to your daily routine. If you’re a smoker, quitting the habit can increase your good cholesterol levels. When lifestyle changes aren’t effective in controlling your cholesterol, Dr. Johnson may recommend medications, like statins.
To learn more about managing high cholesterol levels, schedule an appointment online or by phone.