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What is Hypercholesterolemia?

This medical condition involves the high cholesterol levels found in your blood. It is not an illness by itself but actually it is an imbalance of your metabolism. It can also be a factor that contributes to many other diseases, especially arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening and thickening of your arteries. Cholesterol is a natural component of all the cells in your body and is a waxy, soft, fat-like material and is something your body does need. In fact, your body makes all the cholesterol that you need so when you get extra cholesterol from the food you eat it can cause problems. Normal levels of cholesterol will range between one hundred forty to two hundred mg/dL. When it gets about two hundred forty mg/dL this is an indication of hypercholesterolemia. This medical condition can affect anyone of any age, race, or gender.

Hypercholesterolemia Symptoms

In the early stages of hypercholesterolemia there are no symptoms so it is important that you have your blood tested on a regular basis to find out your cholesterol level.

When the cholesterol level becomes high you may have these symptoms:

  • The tendons could become thick because of all the accumulating cholesterol. This is called xanthoma.
  • Having a whitish discoloration in the peripheral part of your cornea called arcus serilis.
  • Having a yellowish discoloration around your eyelids called xanthelasma palpabrum.
  • Due to pancreatitis you may have acute pain in your abdomen. This can happen when your pancreas has deposits of triglycerides.
  • Your liver and spleen can become enlarged. This may be able to be felt by your physician when they do an examination.
  • Because of the cholesterol building up in the walls of your blood vessels you could experience pain in your chest or even a stroke or heart attack.
  • Because of the narrowed or blocked vessels in your leg you may have pain in your calves when walking.

Hypercholesterolemia Causes

There are many different reasons as to while a person has such a dangerously high cholesterol level but the main culprit are have to due with your diet.

Some of these factors include:

  • Saturated fats – eating a diet that is high in saturated fats can lead to the levels of cholesterol in your blood to become very high.
  • Tran’s fatty acids – these are produced by the hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids which you will find in a lot of the processed foods, foods that are baked commercially, etc. This is a very important risk factor.
  • Carbohydrates – it is just coming to light that a diet that is high in carbohydrates can also lead to a high level of cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is especially true of refined carbohydrates..

There is a rare form of hypercholesterolemia that is hereditary and can run in families. If you have this form of hypercholesterolemia you do not have the ability to properly metabolize cholesterol. Your liver may be making too much cholesterol. Others factors can include the lack of exercising, an increase in your body weight, not being very active physically, and more.

There are also some risk factors you may have that could lead to high cholesterol levels include:

  • Having a family history of heart disease.
  • Having high blood pressure.
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking

Hypercholesterolemia Treatment

The best treatment for hypercholesterolemia is by eating a well balanced diet and exercise.

Some healthy diets include:

  • Cutting back on all the Trans fat and saturated fats in your diet. No more than ten percent should come from your calories on a daily basis. If possible you should try to avoid trans fats completely.
  • You should start to eat more whole grains like oatmeal, pasta, and whole wheat bread.
  • Make sure that you are eating the recommended servings of vegetables and foods which is at least five servings of each one each day.
  • Because you body makes all the cholesterol it needs you want to make sure that you do not take in more in the form of food.
  • Eat fatty fish at least two times a week.

You also want to make sure that you are being careful about getting enough exercise and do not become a couch potato. If your cholesterol level is still too high after following the healthy diet your physician may put you on a prescription medication. When starting out and finding that you have high cholesterol it is the time to start making changes to your diet so you do not have to go on medication.

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