Lt Col Reynolds
Dyslipidemia occurs when you have an unhealthy level of lipids in your bloodstream. Your goal, then, should be to keep your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and HDL, or “good” cholesterol, at healthy levels.
Though lipids are necessary for a healthy body, too much LDL cholesterol can lead to some serious health problems. Dr. Phillips, can you explain what happens if dyslipidemia isn’t treated?
Well, Dr. West, in our nation, one in every four deaths is caused by heart disease. Each year, about six hundred thousand people die from it and more than a million Americans suffer heart attacks, making heart disease the number one killer in the United States.*
High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. In fact, the higher your cholesterol level, the greater your risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
As you grow older, your arteries harden and become less elastic, partially as a result of cholesterol deposits in their walls. This occurs gradually as people age, even if they don’t have dyslipidemia, but having high cholesterol tends to accelerate this process.
When arteries become hardened or narrowed, they can’t supply the amount of blood and oxygen that are needed by the organs of the body. Without that blood and oxygen, your organs can’t function properly.
The heart must then work harder and harder to pump blood through the arteries. Just like any muscle, if your heart is forced to work harder, it can become enlarged, making it more difficult to supply your body with the blood that it needs. This can lead to a variety of serious heart conditions.
*CDC Heart Disease Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm