Have You Been Diagnosed with Hyperlipidemia? Be Certain Your Endocrine and Diabetes Care Center Knows About It!

Does your endocrine and diabetes care center have a specialist in lipid disorders?  If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, it’s important that they do.  There’s a strong link between thyroid problems and the diagnosis of hyperlipidemia, but often doctors don’t think to look into this.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Link Between the Thyroid and Lipid Disorders

Hyperlipidemia is a term encompassing several different disorders and genetic conditions all of which involve a person’s bloodstream containing too many lipids–such as cholesterol and triglycerides.  When these are circulating around the bloodstream, they can clog your arteries, leading to strokes, heart attacks, and other potentially life-threatening situations.

Hyperlipidemia is often a genetic condition.  That is to say, a person doesn’t necessarily have this excess of lipids due to poor diet, but they are genetically pre-disposed to it.  Specialized diets can help with hyperlipidemia, but it’s generally a life-long chronic condition.

So, what does this have to do with thyroid issues?

Well, roughly 10% of patients with hyperlipidemia also have hypothyroidism.  Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid (an endocrine gland in your neck) isn’t producing enough hormones.  This causes depression in bodily systems – including the systems which are supposed to be processing and eliminating excess lipids.   In rare cases, hypothyroidism can actually cause hyperlipidemia, or at least make an existing condition worse.

This is important because whether or not a hyperlipidemia patient also has hypothyroidism can make a big difference in how their condition(s) are treated.  In particular, prescribing lipid-lowering medications alone may not be effective if the patient has hypothyroidism.  In these cases, the hypothyroidism needs to be treated effectively, rather than just targeting lipid counts.

Because of this, there are standing recommendations from many medical associations – including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association – that doctors always check for hypothyroidism when a patient is diagnosed with hyperlipidemia.   Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.  In fact, according to a recent journal article, it only happens around half the time.

Freeman Endocrinology

And that’s why, if you’ve been diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, you should consult with a hypothyroidism specialist who understands the link between the two diseases – like Dr. Freeman!   Our endocrine and diabetes care center is here to help.  Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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