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International Primary Care Association

Clinical Focus Primary Care

Measurement of lipids is regularly performed in General Practice, most commonly as part of a cardiovascular risk assessment. Hypercholesterolaemia increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertriglyceridaemia is associated with metabolic syndrome and pancreatitis. The majority of hyperlipidaemia is successfully managed by General Practitioners, however, some cases (including monogenic hyperlipidaemia, marked hypertriglyceridaemia and treatment intolerance) may require specialist input. The expansion of dedicated lipid services in secondary care and the licensing of monoclonal antibody therapy for hypercholesterolaemia heralds an exciting new period in lipid management. Lipidologists (who often have a Chemical Pathology background) provide an important interface between the laboratory and General Practice. This article aims to provide hints and tips for interpreting a lipid profile in General Practice, and also gives guidance on identification, management and referral of individuals with hyperlipidaemia.

Doctors are taught very little about nutrition at medical school and what little they know is even harder to translate into practice due to knowledge attrition compounded by mixed messages from the media. We ought to educate ourselves on the basics of nutrition and enquire into our patients’ nutritional status via a simple two question screening tool. This will enable us to appropriately guide our patients who are usually more receptive to advice coming from their family doctors whom they have come to know and trust. In an era of growing waistlines and shrinking NHS pockets, this simple two question screening tool followed by evidence-based nutritional advice offers the biggest bang for our buck when it comes to positively affecting our patients’ lifestyle choices.


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International Primary Care Association
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