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Hyperlipidemia

AMBULATORY CARE:

Hyperlipidemia

is a high level of lipids (fats) in your blood. These lipids include cholesterol or triglycerides. Lipids are made by your body. They also come from the foods you eat. Your body needs lipids to work properly, but high levels increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have any of the following signs of a heart attack:
    • Squeezing, pressure, or pain in your chest
    • and any of the following:
      • Discomfort or pain in your back, neck, jaw, stomach, or arm
      • Shortness of breath
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Lightheadedness or a sudden cold sweat
  • You have any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Numbness or drooping on one side of your face
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment of hyperlipidemia

may first include lifestyle changes to help decrease your lipid levels. You may also need to take medicine to lower your lipid levels. Some of the lifestyle changes you may need to make include the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him or her to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. Weight loss can decrease your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise lowers your cholesterol levels and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Get 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise 4 to 6 days each week. You can split your exercise into four 10-minute workouts instead of 30 minutes at one time. Examples of aerobic exercises include walking briskly, swimming, or riding a bike. Work with your healthcare provider to plan the best exercise program for you.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can increase your risk for a heart attack and stroke. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Eat heart-healthy foods. Talk to your dietitian about a heart-healthy diet. The following will help you manage hyperlipidemia:
    • Decrease the total amount of fat you eat. Choose lean meats, fat-free or 1% fat milk, and low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese. Limit or do not eat red meat. Red meats are high in fat and cholesterol.
    • Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats. Unhealthy fats include saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated fat and have little or no trans fat. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats. These are found in olive oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts. Polyunsaturated fats are also healthy. These are found in fish, flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans.
    • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They are low in calories and fat and a good source of essential vitamins. Include dark green, red, and orange vegetables. Examples include spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots.
    • Eat foods high in fiber. Fiber can help lower your cholesterol levels. Choose whole grain, high-fiber foods. Good choices include whole-wheat breads or cereals, beans, peas, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Alcohol can increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return for more tests. Your healthcare provider may refer you to a dietitian. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Hyperlipidemia (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

Mayo Clinic Reference

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