Lagos, Nigeria

Dyslipidemia in Africa!

Dyslipidemia in Africa!

Healthy living is obtained through several means by individuals (periodic medical checkups, balanced diet, timely medications). In a continent like Africa, where only a few see the importance of these common health tips, susceptibility to several preventable health hiccups are inexorable.

Here is Dyslipidemia, a dysfunctional amount of lipid – fats (cholesterols, triglycerides) in the blood which has been identified as a significant modifiable risk factor of cardiovascular diseases among the adult population in Africa.

The most susceptible population identified so far are menopausal women (86.98%) and people living with HIV (PLWHIV-people living with HIV) across African countries (South Africa – 32%, Nigeria- 28%, Kenya- 63.1%, Tanzania- 67%, Ethiopia- 56.9%, Malawi- 31% and Cameroon- 70%).

Among the healthy population of Nigeria, 60% are prevalent and 89% identified among the diabetic population. Just as sugar is of importance to our body’s metabolic system, but when in a glut or too low in level it is harmful to the human system (type 1 & 2 diabetes). So also are lipids (fats) which come in varied forms relevant for healthy living, serving as sources of energy for cells.

They include;

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: when too high inhibits the flow in blood vessels, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis.

HDL (High-density lipoprotein) Cholesterol: when too low becomes less proficient in eliminating high LDL in the blood.

Triglycerides: When high, results in calories storage in cells thus causing the hardening of arteries and increasing the risks of heart attack, stroke & heart disease.

The fascinating aspect of this condition is that most individuals are oblivious to it, at least not until it becomes severe. Common symptoms include but are not limited to:

–         Heartburn, heart palpitation, swellings (feet, ankles, legs), dizziness, short breaths and pressure on the chest, difficulty walking a distance, amongst others. These symptoms can be ameliorated with proper rest but it worsens with stress and a glut of activities.

The main types of dysfunctional blood fat are based on the causes; Primary Dyslipidemia (genetic factor) & Secondary Dyslipidemia, caused by external interferences with blood lipid level especially through lifestyle such as – Obesity, HIV, IBS, Metabolic syndrome & Diabetes.

Associated susceptibility factors include;

  •  Menopause
  • Type 2 diabetes
  •  Use of alcohol (drinking) & (smoking) tobacco
  •  Irregular exercise / sedentary lifestyle
  •  Chronic hepatic/renal conditions,

Treatment vary based on the test carried out as requested by the physician and the underlying cause of the dysfunction. This also applies to medications if recommended, as changes in lifestyles might be given as alternatives for the restoration of the blood fat level.

However, the occurrence rate of dyslipidemia in Nigeria & Africa has been high. To combat the progressive rise in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in Africa, effective detection via a habitual periodic medical checkup and treatment of diverse forms of dyslipidemia amongst other risk factors―obesity, tobacco smoking, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes― is pertinent in curbing untreated/severe dyslipidemia.


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I'm Deola Williams