Lipid disorders develop when fatty substances build up in the blood. These substances include cholesterol and triglycerides.
Left untreated these buildups, commonly known as high cholesterol and high triglycerides, can lead to many other health problems, including high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They can also increase risk for heart disease and stroke.
At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, our team of endocrinologists work with patients to manage lipid disorders, and coordinate care with other medical specialists, including cardiologists and vascular surgeons.
Among the lipid disorders we treat are:
- Hypercholesterolemia: High levels of cholesterol in the blood
- Hypertriglyceridemia: High levels of triglycerides in the blood
Hypercholesterolemia: Lifestyle changes are usually the first line of treatment and include:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet that includes fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and avoids saturated fats, fast foods and commercially baked products
- Exercising regularly
- Losing weight, if you are overweight
- Quitting smoking
There are a variety of medication options available to help lower cholesterol when diet and exercise are not enough. We will work with patients to prescribe a medication that will be most effective.
Hypertriglyceridemia: Conditions like obesity, diabetes and hypothyroidism can lead to hypertriglyceridemia. Treatment starts by getting these underlying problems under control. We also recommend making lifestyle changes that include:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Eating a healthy diet that avoids excess calories and foods high in saturated fats and carbohydrates
- In some cases, medication is prescribed to help keep triglyceride levels under control including statins and newer agents that are called PCSK9 inhibitors.