Lipid specialists have expertise in the treatment of lipid (cholesterol) disorders, which are caused by blood cholesterol levels that are too high or too low. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an example of a condition in which cholesterol levels are too high. Those who have FH are genetically predisposed to have elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which can lead to early heart problems. If you have FH, seeing a lipid specialist for regular blood tests is essential.
What to Expect at a Lipid Clinic
Lipid specialists work at clinics that are designed for examining, testing, and treating those who have lipid disorders. During your first appointment at a lipid clinic, a nurse practitioner will likely perform a blood test called a lipid profile. The blood sample will be taken with a finger stick or by drawing blood from your arm with a needle. After the sample is sent to a laboratory for processing and test results come back, a lipid specialist will make treatment recommendations if necessary.
If treatment for your condition includes taking medications, a lipid specialist may perform another test on your liver to make sure it is healthy enough to process the medication. The type of medication you receive will depend on your particular lipid disorder. People who suffer from FH commonly take a medicinal cocktail of a statin drug, a cholesterol absorber, and a bile acid sequestrant. A lipid specialist will determine the right treatment regimen for your condition.
Common Non-Medicinal Treatments
Most lipid disorders are addressed with medication, but a lipid specialist is likely to recommend non-medicinal treatment strategies as well. Common non-medicinal treatments for lipid disorders include: eating foods low in saturated fat, quitting smoking, restricting alcohol consumption to a moderate amount daily, and developing a weekly exercise routine. Combined with medication, these strategies will help reduce your chance of heart disease and associated conditions.
Regular Visits are Essential
If you have a lipid disorder, regularly visiting a lipid clinic is essential for health maintenance. After prescribing a treatment regimen for your condition, a lipid specialist should conduct blood tests at regular intervals to ensure that the regimen remains effective. In most situations, subsequent visits to a lipid clinic will take less time than the initial visit. After briefly consulting with a nurse practitioner or physician, a blood sample will be taken to monitor your lipid levels.
As long as your blood lipid levels remain healthy, your treatment regimen will be continued. If the treatments you receive are ineffective at maintaining your lipid levels, new treatment will be prescribed.
If you need more information about diagnosing and treating the lipid disorder familial hypercholesterolemia, the FH Foundation is here to help. Our website is an in depth resource for individuals and healthcare professionals who need information about FH. Working with a group of committed physicians, nurses, professional organizations, and government representatives, we are committed to making positive changes for those who have familial hypercholesterolemia.
For more information about diagnosing and treating familial hypercholesterolemia, browse through our website, call us today at (626) 465-1234, or click here to use our contact form.