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Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)

What is hyperlipidemia?

Hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol and triglyceride are when the amount of lipids (fats) in your blood are high. Hyperlipidemia can be interchangeable with hypercholesterolemia, which means there’s too much LDL-C (bad cholesterol) in your blood. Having high amount of LDL-C as well as triglyceride in your bloodstream could increase risk of heart diseases.

Lipid parametersNormal range, mmol/LDesirable range, mmol/L
Total Cholesterol (TC)3.0-6.4<5.2
HDL-Cholesterol0.90-1.55>1.0
LDL-Cholesterol2.3-4.4<3.4
Triglyceride0.70-1.55<2.3
TC/HDL-C3.0-5.9
Malaysian lipid profile range

Health reports usually would show you your total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C), and triglycerides. Having hyperlipidemia is not an acute disease hence often are resulted with medication as well as lifestyle changes as management option.

Cholesterol | Health Navigator NZ
Differences between high cholesterol (high LDL) and low cholesterol (low LDL)

What is the cause of hyperlipidemia

The cause of hyperlipidemia can be genetic, however it does not mean you are born with high cholesterol, but  more susceptible in producing fats and developing bad cholesterol.

Furthermore, it could be due to lifestyles such as:

  • Consuming high fat and processed food
  • Consuming very little fibre, fruits and vegetables
  • Lack of physical activity/exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol
  • Under high stress
  • Have other complication (kidney disease, fatty liver, diabetes etc)
  • Medications (birth control pills, some depression drugs)

How to manage hyperlipidemia

  • Eat a hearty diet
    • Choose healthy fats which are Omega-3, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat as it can help in reducing cholesterol level and are a less harmful source of fat. However, it does not mean you can consume a lot of it, it is still advised to consume according to recommended serving (50g-70g of fat a day).
    • Avoid/ cut out trans fat and saturated fat which is highly dangerous as it can cause blockage in your arteries. It can be hidden under hydrogenated oil hence, skip products with mention of hydrogenated/ partially hydrogenated oil.
    • More fibre in your diet may not only help lowering your bad cholesterol, it can also help in your bowel movement and improve your gut health. Increasing fibre in your diet can be as easy as consuming more fruits and vegetables (green leafy ones) or consuming functional food such as YourGutt Pre+Probiotic for convenience.
  • Cholesterol medications

If lifestyle changes are not sufficient in lowering your cholesterol/ triglyceride levels, doctors would prescribe -statins medications or bile-acid-binding resins. These medications are efficient in lowering cholesterol especially among those who are unable to manage their cholesterol through lifestyle changes and have very high hyperlipidemia.

  • Getting active

Exercising or being active physically can help in controlling your cholesterol levels and also weight. Hormones in our body are able to help increase the production of HDL-C (good cholesterol) when we are physically active. And in turn, HDL-C will lower the amount of LDL-C. 

It is recommended to perform at least 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise 3-4 times a week to lower total cholesterol level. Or alternatively, as long there is an accumulation of 150 minutes of exercise each week is sufficient as well. Example of moderate to vigorous exercise/ activity are:

  • Cycling
  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Resistant training (weight lifting, crossfit)
  • Climbing stairs
  • Walk (8-10k steps)
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