Hyperlipidemia: Reasons and Remedies

By Justin Roseman, PA

Hyperlipidemia is one of the most common medical conditions in America. Too often, it is overlooked. However, it can affect your heart, placing you at risk of a heart attack or sudden cardiac death, which greatly concerns your cardiologists at North Suffolk Cardiology. 
Hyperlipidemia is an overabundance of cholesterol molecules in the bloodstream. In many patients, hyperlipidemia is inherited, so it is important to know your family history. Cardiologists can treat hyperlipidemia to reduce future risk of heart disease.  
A simple fasting blood test called a lipid panel can diagnose hyperlipidemia. The lipid panel has four main results: 

  • Total cholesterol 
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) 
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides 

HDL and LDL specifically refer to high-density and low-density lipoprotein levels. Think of HDL as the “healthy” cholesterol and LDL as the “lousy” cholesterol. Genetics can heavily impact these levels, but your diet also impacts them. 

The CDC recommends these cholesterol levels for patients without diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and/or peripheral vascular disease. If you have any of these conditions, please speak with your cardiologist to discuss what levels are best for you.

Total Cholesterol About 150 mg/dL
LDL "bad" Cholesterol About 100 mg/dL
HDL "good" Cholesterol At least 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL for women
Triglycerides Less than 150 mg/dL

Mediterranean diet, rich in lean protein and unsaturated fats-including foods such as fish, lentils, beans, nuts and extra virgin olive oil - is associated with higher levels of HDL and lower levels of LDL. A diet rich in red meats and processed foods including ground beef, pork, egg yolks, fried foods, pastries and butter - is associated with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of LDL. Eating a Mediterranean diet and following an active lifestyle are usually the first treatment recommendations for patients with hyperlipidemia. 
If you are considered high-risk, your cardiologist may recommend medication to target and lower LDL cholesterol.

To schedule an appointment with one of our cardiologists, call (631) 941-2000.