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Christmas is dyslipidemia season

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By Dr. Kaycee Reyes

Besides making your waistline a lot bigger than it needs to be, having bad cholesterol in the body makes you more prone to lifestyle diseases, such as dyslipidemia.

The holidays are fast approaching. And with it comes the usual devil-may-care attitude about what we eat, drink, and do during the numerous holiday celebrations—not to mention Noche Buena—we’ll be attending. If you’ve resigned to the fact that gaining that holiday weight is inevitable and losing it is to be a resolution for the New Year, think again. Being mindful over what you eat now will save you from troubling conditions later on.

Take dyslipidemia, for example. Dyslipidemia is when you have high levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL for short. LDL is more commonly known as bad cholesterol. Dyslipidemia has no known symptoms, but it will be uncovered with simple blood work. Primary dyslipidemia is hereditary, so when it’s found out that a family member has it, it’s best to have yourself checked, too. It can also come with age—men over 40 years of age and postmenopausal women are more prone to it.

If you’re not within that age range and there’s no family history of it, you can still get dyslipidemia because of your lifestyle, like eating too much food that contains saturated or trans fat or smoking. LDL, or also known as triglycerides, is converted into energy when you burn them off through exercise. But if you consume more calories than you get to burn, those triglycerides build up, raising your LDL levels and perhaps blocking your arteries, which might put you at risk of heart conditions, like a stroke or a heart attack. Smokers and excessive drinkers are also more prone to getting dyslipdemia, since it raises your LDL levels.

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What do you do when your blood test does reveal that you have dyslipidemia? Depending on your risk level and your diagnosis, it can range from a simple lifestyle change, to going on medication to keep your cholesterol under control. It cannot be overemphasized that proper diet and exercise will do wonders for not just your LDL level, but for your overall health.

Sneaking in the minutes to get your body moving will help you shed the unwanted pounds, plus keep your heart healthy, too. Think about getting into exercise that will get you moving and sweating—they say sweat is fat crying, and we completely agree! Progress from a few minutes to a whole fitness routine, and following and fitting your exercise routine into your schedule will eventually get easier.

Eating well, which means avoiding the bad fats and embracing the good fats, will take a bit of getting used to and a lot of willpower, but it is quite doable nowadays, especially with the numerous options we now have to help us eat healthy, from healthy food delivery services to organic produce being more accessible. Saying goodbye to refined sugar, processed food, and consuming saturated fat will also make you feel lighter and look slimmer. You can always replace it with veggies, fruits, and whole grains!

And your smoking habit? We all know it’s bad for you, and if those horrifying photos on each cigarette pack isn’t enough to deter you from smoking, think about the costly medical bills you might incur because of your smoking—with hope, that will help you curb your habit, and perhaps you can funnel the money you’ll save from buying cigarettes into something healthy, like a gym membership or a healthy food trip around the Philippines, perhaps?

As for the alcoholic intake, yes a glass of red wine is good for the heart—studies support that claim. But, like with anything, drinking must be done in moderation—anything done excessively will have adverse affects, which will make us suffer in the long run. So rather than being such a killjoy this holiday season, I say it’s best to still raise a glass, drink, and be merry. Let’s do it without needing to get drunk or blacking out, but to enjoy and celebrate the year that was, and to look forward to what is coming—and with a good, clean bill of health, at that!

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