What is the treatment?
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition of really high blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance manufactured by the liver and found naturally in the body. Cholesterol has a number of functions and is often converted to hormones. The body produces sufficient amounts of cholesterol and you only need a very small portion of cholesterol from the outside in order to keep you healthy and fit. This additional cholesterol source comes from dietary cholesterol in form of meat, dairy products, eggs (egg yolk particularly), meat, fish and poultry. These food items are really high in saturated fats and Trans fats. So consuming these items in excess can trigger the body or more specifically the liver to produce an overabundance of cholesterol. This can in most cases lead to hypercholesterolemia.
Aside from hormones cholesterol is also needed by the body for the functioning of cell membranes and production of substances which is in turn required for fat digestion. A surging cholesterol level can heighten the chances of a coronary artery disease. The excess cholesterol levels in the bloodstream lead to the formation of fat deposits in the coronary artery walls. The rising cholesterol levels narrow and at the same time harden the walls of the artery. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
With the passage of time the arteries can get blocked thereby cutting off the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This contributes to the risk of heart attack, stroke and angina. Other conditions where the fat deposits get stored in the tissues and tendons of the body are known as familial hypercholesterolemia. Hypercholesterolemia occurs due to unhealthy eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle with almost next to zero physical activities.
How is the treatment done?
Hypercholesterolemia shows very little symptoms and only way it can be detected is by getting a blood cholesterol level check done. This is referred to as a lipid profile. This comprises of an overall test of the LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A cholesterol level that is 200 mg/dl is considered to be high. People who are diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia will be initially recommended by the doctor to make necessary changes to their diet and also advised to take part in physical activity on an everyday basis. It is advised that the saturated fat consumption for men should be about 30 grams everyday in case of men and for about 20 grams everyday in case of women.
If the cholesterol level continues to hover near the high range then the patient will be prescribed a set of medications. These include bile-acid binding resins, statins, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors.
The liver makes use of cholesterol in order to produce bile acids is required for the process of digestion. Therefore, the bile acid-binding resins bind to the bile acids. These leads the liver get access to excess cholesterol so that it can still manufacture the acid. This has a lowering effect of the blood cholesterol levels. Statins act as a barrier to a substance that is needed by the liver in order for cholesterol synthesis. In the small intestine the cholesterol is absorbed from food sources within the bloodstream. Cholesterol absorption inhibitors help to lower the cholesterol level in the bloodstream.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
All those suffering from high cholesterol levels are eligible to hypercholesterolemia treatment.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
People who are allergic to any of the ingredients contained within the medications mentioned above are not eligible to go for this treatment. Also women and people, who are aged 65 years and older, stand at a greater risk of developing certain adverse effects from taking statins. Also, people who suffer from kidney or liver disorder are more vulnerable to suffer from side effects of statins.
Are there any side effects?
Patients taking statins are most likely to experience side effects such as muscle pain, muscle damage, nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, liver damage, type 2 diabetes and neurological side effects. Bile acid binding resins can cause side effects such as flatulence, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Patients who have been prescribed to take cholesterol absorption inhibitors are likely to experience side effects such as fatigue, muscle soreness and stomach pain.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
The post-treatment guidelines for hypercholesterolemia includes lifestyle changes that should comprise of a diet that is low in saturated fat, managing their weight in case the patient is overweight or obese and taking the medications prescribed by the doctor on time. Also, regular exercise is highly recommended in order to keep cholesterol levels on the low side.
How long does it take to recover?
On an average it takes about three weeks to lower cholesterol in adults and about two weeks in children. If someone is put on the Pritikin Program of diet it will take about three weeks reduce the cholesterol levels.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
A monthly course of statins would cost you about Rupees 250 in India. A strip of 10mg of Ezedoc tablets which fall under the category of cholesterol absorption inhibitors would cost around 110 rupees.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The results of the treatment can be permanent in so far as the post-treatment guidelines which include lifestyle changes, exercising regularly and taking the medications on time, are strictly adhered to.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
The alternative of a medical treatment for Hypercholesterolemia would be adopting some natural remedies such as making dietary changes that include foods rich in soluble fibres such as fruits, vegetables; olive oil; omega 3-fats; herbs; garlic. By eating the right foods and avoiding food that are high in saturated fats one can easily maintain their cholesterol levels.type diabetes
Rs. 100- Rs. 500