Hypercholesterolemia symptoms, Causes, and Treatment: The cholesterol is one of body fat essential to the body that is present in every cell of the body. It serves as a base material for the synthesis of a large number of hormones, contributes to the maintenance and stability of cell membranes.
The cholesterol blood is predominantly synthesized by the liver and intestine, it is then brought into the blood by carriers. Transporters are lipoproteins, there are two types, low-density lipoproteins and those with high density, these two types of lipoproteins that correspond to the “bad” and “good” cholesterol. Cholesterol needs to be associated with these molecules because it is not soluble in water or in the blood.
Called LDL, for Low-Density Lipoprotein, they carry cholesterol from the liver to the tissues. When there is too much cholesterol associated with LDL lipoproteins, it accumulates on the arterial walls, increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. That’s why it’s called ” bad cholesterol “.
Called HDL, for High-Density Lipoprotein, they carry the cholesterol from the tissues to the liver, for the purpose of its elimination and to prevent its accumulation in the tissues. They make it possible to clean arteries of poor quality lipid deposits and thus reduce the risk of the appearance of an atheromatous plaque, that is to say, a plaque of fat lining the wall of the blood vessels. That’s why it’s called ” good cholesterol “.
The total cholesterol level is dependent on the levels of LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol. This rate is calculated by a blood test on an empty stomach and must be less than 2g / L. In this assay, the HDL-cholesterol level, which must be higher than 0.6 g / L, is also measured and the LDL-cholesterol limit, which must be less than 1.6 g / L, can be calculated.
If the cholesterol level is higher than 2g / L, it is called hypercholesterolemia.
Definition of hypercholesterolemia
The hypercholesterolemia is a disorder of lipid metabolism, which corresponds to an increase in cholesterol levels in the blood. This disorder is specifically due to an elevated level of LDL cholesterol, which is found in large amounts in the blood. The liver can no longer remove all the cholesterol – LDL that accumulates and deposits on the vascular walls which increases the risk of atherosclerosis and therefore that of cardiovascular disease.
Hypercholesterolemia is often accompanied by an elevation of triglyceride levels in the blood. Triglycerides are lipids that make up the majority of adipose tissue in the human body and represent the body’s largest energy store. They are brought by an unbalanced diet and excessive consumption of alcohol. A high level of triglycerides in the blood promotes the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases and contributes to the development of atherosclerosis. A normal level of triglycerides is less than 1.7 mmol / L.
Causes of high cholesterol
The causes of hypercholesterolemia are congenital or acquired. In 80% of cases, hypercholesterolemia is linked to genetic factors.
It is characterized by a mutation of the gene encoding the LDL- cholesterol receptor on the cells. If the receptor is absent from the cells, the LDL cholesterol remains in the blood and accumulates, which causes the appearance of deposition of “bad” cholesterol. This type of hypercholesterolemia can appear from childhood and causes the appearance of xanthomas, it is small balls of yellow cholesterol which are deposited on the tendons and on the skin.
Some diseases can cause an increase in blood cholesterol levels, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes or kidney failure.
Environment, age, and lifestyle
The lifestyle of everyone obviously plays on health and can lead to an increase in cholesterol, it is a risk factor that is often associated with a genetic factor. Indeed, a diet rich in fats and sugars and a lack of physical activity leads to overweight and thus an increase in LDL cholesterol. Men over age 45 and menopausal women over age 55 have a higher risk of hypercholesterolemia.
As discussed above, high cholesterol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and fat deposits in the arteries or tissues.
This fatty deposit forms a plaque on the blood vessels, and can also clog the arteries, including the coronary artery that irrigates the heart. This phenomenon is called atherosclerosis, it is a hardening of the arteries that increases the risk of chest pain and heart attacks.
There are no symptoms of high cholesterolstrictly speaking, we speak of “silent” disturbance. In general, when one realizes this disorder, the arteries have already lost 75% to 90% of their functionality. That is why it is important to regularly check your total cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels in order to take the necessary measures as quickly as possible.
Some tips to control your cholesterol levels?
How to lower your cholesterol?
The goal of cholesterol-lowering therapy is to reduce the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It depends on the lipid values obtained during the blood test and the presence or absence of other risk factors for heart and vascular diseases. There are two types of treatments:
When one suffers from hypercholesterolemia the first step to take is to review his diet and his frequency of physical activity. In fact, a balanced diet with a minimum of lipids and foods rich in cholesterol can reduce excess weight and limit the intake of saturated fat. Endurance sports, such as cross-country running, brisk walking and swimming, lower LDL cholesterol by slightly increasing HDL cholesterol.
Drug therapy should be considered if the improvement of lifestyle is not enough to reduce the rate of cholesterol, or the present risk factors of patient cardiovascular disease (family history, cardiovascular disease already established age, high blood pressure, smoking …). In this case, treatments based on the following components may be prescribed:
- Statins: lower LDL cholesterol. Statins inhibit the action of an enzyme that participates in the synthesis of cholesterol.
- Fibrates: reduce LDL cholesterol.
- Inhibitors of intestinal absorption of cholesterol: colestyramine and ezetimibe fix cholesterol from food and eliminate it by stool.
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