The goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease. Those who inherit only one copy of the defective gene may respond well to diet changes combined with statin drugs.
The first step is to change what you eat. Most of the time, this is tried for several months before your doctor recommends medicines. Diet changes include lowering the amount of fat you eat so that it is less than 30% of your total calories.
Here are some ways to cut saturated fat our of your diet:
- Eat less beef, chicken, pork, and lamb
- Substitute low-fat dairy products for full-fat ones
- Eliminate coconut and palm oils
You can reduce the amount of cholesterol you eat by eliminating egg yolks and organ meats.
Counseling is often recommended to help people make changes to their eating habits. Weight loss and regular exercise may also help lower your cholesterol levels.
See also: Heart disease and diet
If lifestyle changes do not change your cholesterol levels or you have a very high risk of this condition, your doctor may recommend medication. There are several types of drugs available to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they work in different ways. Some are better at lowering LDL cholesterol, some are good at lowering triglycerides, while others help raise HDL cholesterol.
The most commonly used and effective drugs for treating high LDL cholesterol are called statins. The include lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), pitivastatin (Livalo), and rosuvastatin (Crestor).
Other cholesterol-lowering medicines include:
- Bile acid-sequestering resins
- Fibrates (such as gemfibrozil or fenofibrate)
Those with more severe forms of this disorder may need a treatment called apheresis. Blood or plasma is removed from the body. Special filters then remove the extra LDL-cholesterol, and the blood plasma is then returned.