Disease Prevention in Women (cont.)

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Hypercholesterolemia (hyperlipidemia, dyslipidemia)

Elevated LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries"). Atherosclerosis can begin to develop in adolescence and progress without any symptoms for many years. It leads to heart attack and stroke later in life.

Hyperlipidemia is a common and treatable cause of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of death in both men and women in developed countries. The goal is to diagnose and retard or reverse atherosclerosis while it is still in a silent early state

Screening tests

Blood lipid panel that includes:

Who to test and how often

  • LDL is the part of the cholesterol panel that is most significant when deciding patient treatment, as well as determining how often lipid panels are checked.
  • All adults over 20 should have a lipid panel every five years, and more frequently as medically indicated.

Benefits of early detection

There is good evidence that lowering elevated LDL cholesterol and increasing low HDL is beneficial in heart attack prevention and in some cases stroke prevention in subjects with or without known atherosclerosis.

Treatment of elevated LDL cholesterol is multi-dimensional. Patients should discuss their total caloric intake, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake as well as weight reduction and regular exercise with their doctor. Cholesterol-lowering medications are also an important part of treatment for many people with elevated blood lipid levels.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/28/2014

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