Hyperlipidemia and HIV/AIDS: High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Sometimes, despite diet and exercise, lipids cannot be kept at healthy levels without the help of drugs. There are a variety of drugs available to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Some of these may interact with HIV drugs. To reduce the chance of drug interactions, make sure your health care provider is aware of all the medications you take.
If you take a lipid-lowering drug, it is still important to include a good diet and exercise in your lifestyle to help the drug work its best. It is also important to take the drug consistently.
Some HIV drugs have been:
While experts agree that heart disease risks are associated with some HIV medications, there are also important benefits to the heart and immune system from HIV treatment. It is important to work with your health care provider to weigh the risks and benefits of the HIV medications you choose.
There are some HIV drugs that have less of an impact on cholesterol and triglycerides. These include Edurant (rilpivirine), Viramune (nevirapine), Intelence (etravirine), Isentress (raltegravir), and Selzentry (maraviroc). Reyataz (atazanavir) and Prezista (darunavir) are also less likely to increase lipids, but both require use with Norvir (ritonavir), and Norvir does increase lipids.
If you take HIV drugs, be aware of the possible side effects. Get monitored at regular medical check ups for high lipid levels. It is important that you not not stop or make changes to your HIV drug regimen without speaking to your health care provider.
Other factors that increase a person's risk of heart disease include:
Try these tips for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides and decreasing other risk factors:
If you have hyperlipidemia, it is especially important to take care of your body. It is important to keep all of your medical appointments, get regular lab tests, and tell your health care provider about any changes in the way you feel or in your body shape.
Hyperlipidemia and other conditions associated with lipodystrophy have been linked with heart disease and strokes in HIV+ people, so make sure you are monitored closely. Other factors also contribute to the risk of heart attacks and strokes, including high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, make sure it is treated. You can also support your body, and especially your heart, with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and limiting or stopping tobacco use.
This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
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