Obesity and Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia is the condition that occurs when a body has too many lipids or fats in the blood. In proper quantities, lipids—which include cholesterol and triglycerides—are an important part of a body’s maintenance, chemistry and overall health. Having higher levels of lipids, i.e. hyperlipidemia, may lead or contribute to blocked arteries and an increased chance of heart disease or stroke.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol is an organic molecule found in our blood that helps to break down nutrients and create hormones. Cholesterol exists in two forms, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered the “bad” form of cholesterol, as it’s the form that builds up within your arteries and can lead to cardiac complications. HDL, on the other hand, has been known to reduce the risk of heart attack and is considered the “good” form of cholesterol. The reason being, HDL pulls cholesterol away from the arteries and carries it to the liver where the body can eliminate it.
Triglycerides are the end product of digestion and what most of us know as fat. Triglyceride are an important source of energy for our body. If we have a high fat diet or in some cases are genetically predisposed, levels of triglycerides circulating in our blood can become too high and cause health complications such as heart disease and stroke.
A blood test is all that’s needed to find out your lipid levels.
These are the desirable lipid levels and will help your physician gauge whether or not to treat you for hyperlipidemia:
- LDL: Less than 130 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL)
- HDL: Over 50 mg/dL for women, and over 40 mg/dL for men
- Total Cholesterol: Both HDL and LDL less than 200 mg/dL
- Triglyceride: Less than 150 mg/dL
Hyperlipidemia can be treated initially with changes to diet and exercise. If these lifestyle measures are unsuccessful prescription medications may be used. Weight loss surgery is known to have a positive effect on Hyperlipidemia, and it is quite common for lipid levels to return to normal levels following a bariatric surgery.