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Nov 2023

What are lipid disorders and how to treat them?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Nov 22, 2023

Lipid disorders refer to a range of conditions that cause abnormal levels of lipids or fats in the blood. Lipids are fatty compounds that have many different body functions, including storing energy, producing hormones, and absorbing nutrients. However, too much lipid in the blood can be harmful.

What are lipids?

Lipids are a type of chemical compound in the body, and they have multiple body functions. Your body makes these fatty substances that are insoluble in water. There are mainly three types of lipids, including simple lipids, compound lipids, and derived lipids. Some examples of lipids are high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), triglycerides, and fatty acids. The functions of lipids include:

  • Fatty acids break down to produce energy.
  • Steroid hormones help send messages to cells.
  • Cholesterol helps the body create cell membranes and other hormones.
  • Triglycerides help transfer and reserve energy.
  • Phospholipids help transport fat between the intestine and liver.

What is a lipid disorder?

A lipid condition arises when the level of low-density lipoprotein, or bad cholesterol and triglycerides, increases. High levels of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides can cause fat buildup in body tissues, including the arteries, which can cause serious cardiovascular complications. Fatty substance buildup in the arteries can increase your risk of having heart disease or a heart attack.

What are the symptoms of lipid disorder?

Most people with a lipid disorder may not have any symptoms until the condition gets worse and leads to a heart attack or stroke. However, here are a few symptoms that have been observed in people with very high lipid levels:

  • Yellow creases or fatty bumps in the skin happen due to fat buildup around the tendons and joints.
  • Yellow lumps on the inner corners of the eyes.
  • Younger people may experience white arcs around the cornea of the eyes.

What causes lipid disorders?

There are many factors that can cause elevated lipid levels. The most common causes include:

  • Genetics: Genetics can contribute to many lipid disorders. For example, familial cholesterolemia is a high-cholesterol condition that runs in the family.
  • Lifestyle: Eating foods that are high in saturated fats can cause elevated cholesterol levels in the blood. A few examples of foods that are high in saturated fats include cured meat, sugary foods, dairy products, and others. Foods that are high in trans fat can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels in the blood. Deep-fried foods, pastries, and vegetable oils are usually high in trans fat.
  • Medication condition: Certain underlying health conditions can elevate blood cholesterol levels, such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, and hypothyroidism.

How is lipid disorder treated?

Your doctor will prescribe you a lipid panel test or lipid profile test to diagnose a lipid disorder. The treatment of this disorder depends on your age, cholesterol levels, and underlying conditions.

Generally, medical professionals recommend lifestyle changes and certain medications to treat lipid disorders. Lifestyle changes include:

  • Cutting saturated and trans fats from your daily diet
  • Eating more healthy food
  • Exercising for at least twenty minutes for five days a week
  • Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption

Apart from lifestyle modifications, medications are also crucial to lowering high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol inhibitors, statins, fibrate therapy, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements are generally recommended by doctors to treat lipid disorders.