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Hyperlipidemia is an abnormally elevated level of lipids or lipoproteins in the human blood. It is a critical risk factor for cardiovascular disease, mainly due to the significant effect of cholesterol on the development of atherosclerosis. Furthermore, hyperlipidemia syndrome develops in many diseases, makes their course more severe, and leads to complications. Treatment of hyperlipidemia is crucial for the prevention of atherosclerosis, normal functioning of organs, long and active life. This essay provides a brief overview of the disease, describes some treatment principles and anti-hyperlipidemic drug classes, and discusses monitoring patients and their variables.
Overview of Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia is a consequence of a person’s lifestyle, eating and bad habits, and the types of medications he takes. Moreover, given that he or she has diabetes, reduced thyroid function, or a woman is pregnant, hyperlipidemia develops more actively. However, this disease can be familial if one has a normal weight and leads a healthy lifestyle. With familial hyperlipidemia, a person may have signs of high cholesterol, which are yellowish fatty growths around the eyes or joints (Shattat, 2014). Otherwise, hyperlipidemia has no signs or symptoms, and high cholesterol may go unnoticed. The patient may have a myocardial infarction or stroke and only then learn that he or she has hyperlipidemia (Shattat, 2014). Excess lipids accumulate in the blood over time, forming plaques on the walls of arteries and blood vessels. These plaques constrict the lumen of the vessels, creating a turbulent flow of blood through them, which leads to a greater load on the heart to pump blood through the constricted areas.
The most critical thing in hyperlipidemia treatment is to find and remove the causes that provoked an increase in the level of fats in the body. Diet and lifestyle correction is one of the key conditions for successful treatment (Yassine, 2015). As a rule, in the early stages of hyperlipidemia, it is enough to adjust the diet and lifestyle to normalize the level of fats in the body. Drugs are usually prescribed to people when diet therapy did not help them during the first month of treatment. As for the evidence-based approach, it is helpful to manage patients with hyperlipidemia effectively. Varras (2016) states that “based on the evidence, statins are the medications of choice for most patients who need lipid-lowering therapy” (p. 17). More than that, the detection of various risk factors will determine the appropriate Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) level for a particular patient.
Anti-Hyperlipidemic Drug Classes
In the case of hyperlipidemia, physicians usually prescribe medications of six drug classes. They are statins, bile acid-binding resin, fabric acid derivatives, nicotinic acid derivatives, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, and inhibitors of cholesterol transport from the intestines. All of them decrease LDL, and the first four increase HDL (Shattat, 2014, p. 404). In addition, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezetimibe, also lower cholesterol (Saely et al., 2017). Besides, statins, for example, lovastatin or simvastatin, increase Triglyceride Levels.
Monitoring Patients and Patient Variables
In the beginning, patients should be treated for the metabolic condition exacerbating hyperlipidemia. Different variables, such as Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), and Triglyceride Levels (TG), should be monitored appropriately (Varras, 2016). If a person has diabetes, his or her glucose level and glycosylated hemoglobin are necessary to be normalized. While managing hyperlipidemia, it is essential to consider statin therapy for all patients, as it reduces mortality and coronary heart disease. Moreover, patients who are treated with lipid-lowering medications should be carefully monitored for the emergency of myositis or liver disease.
Hyperlipidemia is a common pathology that is widely diagnosed nowadays. There are many risk factors, such as an unhealthy lifestyle or a genetic predisposition to this disease. Proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyles are the main conditions for successful treatment and effective prevention of high cholesterol in particular and hyperlipidemia in general. Furthermore, there are many medications of several drug classes, which proved to be effective in the treatment of hyperlipidemia.
Saely, C. H., Saely, R. R., & Drexel, H. (2017). Treatment of hyperlipidemia: Consensus and controversies. Cardiology Plus, 2(4), 18-25.
Shattat, G. F. (2014). A review article on hyperlipidemia: Types, treatments and new drug targets. Biomedical & Pharmacology Journal, 7(2), 399-409.
Varras, J. (2016). Managing hyperlipidemia: An evidence-based approach. Journal of Managed Care Medicine, 11(2), 17-22.
Yassine, H. (2015). Lipid management: From basics to clinic. New York City, NY: Springer.