28 February, 2024
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Dyslipidemia and how to reduce unhealthy fats

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Lipids or fats are essential molecules for human cell health. These molecules include cholesterol and triglycerides. Cholesterol is produced by the liver into the bloodstream to help producing hormones. Triglycerides is a source of energy that carry nutritive fats over the body. We need to eat a balanced diet of lipids to: stay warm, be physical active, make important components like hormones, intake of indispensable fatty-acids especially Omega-3 and absorb vitamins. Human body is not able to absorb vitamins A, D and E without the assistance of fat.

There are four types of fats: mono-unsaturated (peanuts, almonds, olives, avocados), poly-unsaturated (oily fish, sunflower oil, pine nuts), saturated (sausages, burger, cheddar, whole milk, butter, palm oil) and trans fats (fried foods, cakes, pies). Mono- and poly- unsaturated fat are healthy fats. Contrariwise, saturated and trans fat are unhealthy fats.

Have you ever been asking “what happens if you eat more fat that your body needs?”.

The overconsumption of fat foods is converted into body fats and can therefore lead to weight gain and development of serious health problems.

In this article we will discuss the effect of dyslipidemia on human health and precautions that should be taken to protect your health.

What is dyslipidemia? How common is dyslipidemia in Australia?

Dyslipidemia is a chronic health condition where your body having abnormal raised levels of one or more lipids (fats, cholesterol, triglycerides). The standard blood test panel employed to measure the lipids range comprise: total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or “good” cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides. In most cases you need to fast for 12 hours before doing the test panel. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), gave a definition of dyslipidemia and occurs when one or more blood test levels are: total cholesterol (≥ 5.5 mmol/L or 212.7 mg/dL), HDL (men <1.0 mmol/L or 38.67 mg/dL and women <1.3 mmol/L or 50.27 mg/dL), LDL (≥ 3.5 mmol/L or 135.34 mg/dL) and triglycerides (≥2.0 mmol/L or 177.15 mg/dL). According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011-2012 Australian Health Survey (AHS), 63% of adults were having dyslipidemia, including, 33% had high levels of LDL, 23% decreased levels of HDL and 14% increased levels of triglycerides.

What are the symptoms and causes of dyslipidemia?

For the majority of cases, dyslipidemia is unrealizable. Normally physicians diagnose it during routine testing. There no significant and specific symptoms linked with dyslipidemia. “Bad” cholesterol is a dangerous fat, if not well treated it can lead to precipitation inside the blood vessels qcalled cholesterol plaque, blocking vessels and making it harder for blood to pass through. This can give rise to danger diseases, especially coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease. These conditions conduct to heart attack and stroke and having various symptoms like: leg pain, chest pain, breath shortness, heart palpitations, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, tiredness, legs swelling and many others.

Dyslipidemia is classified as primary and secondary causes. Primary causes characterized by gene mutations, leading to either the body over-produces or do not clears properly triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol, or it under-produces or clears extremely the “good” cholesterol. The secondary causes are linked to lifestyles, with high intake of calories, saturated and trans fats. Thus other conditions are associated with secondary causes, including diabetes, alcohol, smoking, kidney diseases, specific medications and many others.

Advice to help you reduce unhealthy fats

Lifestyle adjustment is the keystone of dyslipidemia treatment, especially in people with family history. Various programs could be included as follows:

  • Restrictions of saturated fats (sausages, burger, whole milk, butter, hard cheeses etc. related to high “bad” cholesterol levels) also, trans fats (butter, fried foods, biscuits, commercial goodies, processed foods etc. associated with high “bad” cholesterol and low “good” cholesterol levels).
  • Recommend following healthy dietary program, by replacing saturated and trans lipids with unsaturated fats (avocados, almonds, olives, fish), lipid alternatives (poultry without skin, light milk, fat-free cheeses, turkey, proteins) and fiber-containing foods (oat meals, fruits, veggies, whole grains). These will adjust dyslipidemia if taken in moderate amounts.
  • Cook with olive and sunflower oils and control the amount used.
  • Maintain ideal body weight
  • Get frequently physical activities and workouts.
  • Limit smoking, alcohol and sugar.
  • Check your blood by screening tests and consult regularly your physician.

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