How to cope with dyslipidemia at work
Dyslipidemia is a condition which should be taken seriously in all circumstances. In the professional environment it is particularly important to pay attention to the disease.
Managing stress at work
Stress is one of the most common causes of dyslipidemia. At work we are often exposed to stress, which negatively impacts blood cholesterol levels1. Noisy working environments in particular can increase both stress and cholesterol levels2. If you work in a loud environment, try to reduce the noise:
- By using ear plugs
- By decreasing your exposure to noise
Discuss with your doctor how you can adapt to your workplace.
Incorporating physical activity into a sedentary job
If you have a sedentary job, it is very important to compensate at some point by doing physical exercises. Sedentary lifestyles, including sedentary jobs, have been shown to increase blood cholesterol levels5. Therefore, it is very important to allocate time for physical activities at work; these activities can be brief but should be regular. Discuss with your doctor which exercises would be best for your health. If your company has an occupational doctor or a nurse, do not hesitate to discuss this point with them too. They may be able to provide advice linked to the specificity of your work. (learn more about physical exercise).
Remember: It is vital to adapt to your work environment so you can better manage your lipids levels; this is not optional. If your lipids levels become uncontrolled, it would impact overall health which may take you away from work for a long period of time.
Maintaining your healthy lifestyle at work
The workplace is often a place of collegiality where people share difficult, but also pleasant, moments. Such positive moments include parties, afterworks and corporate events, and these occurrences can often involve alcohol and foods that contain sugars or fats which negatively impact blood lipids6,7.
You do not need to completely exclude those, but you should really control the amounts you consume.
You should also stay away from that cigarette you might be tempted to smoke, to help you feel more like part of the group.
It is important not to cede to those temptations so you can continue observing a healthy lifestyle.
Remember, by deviating from your healthy lifestyle because of work, your private life will also be negatively affected. By no means should you avoid going out with your colleagues, but retaining the healthy habits of your private life will help you maintain control over your lipids. Therefore, when with your colleagues, avoid smoking, avoid drinking alcohol and limit your consumption of unhealthy foods.
Adhering to your treatment at work
If you take medications, adhere to them (read more on why adherence is important): take medications on time, in the correct dosages and for as long as they have been prescribed. Going to work should not be a reason not to take your medication. If you skip medication which should be taken during your working hours, this may offset the benefits of taking the medication.
If you are nervous that your colleagues will judge you for taking medication, you should not be worried – remember that it is your health at stake, not theirs.
If you struggle with organizing your medications, tools such as reminders and pill organizers can help. Talk with your doctor to determine the best way to organize your treatments.
Travelling and adherence
Travelling is often cited as a reason for not taking medication4. If your work requires travel, ensure to carry enough medication for the trip. It is preferable to carry an excess of medication in anticipation of any unforeseen circumstances:
1. Plan the number of pills you may need depending on the length of your trip.
2. Always bring extra pills in case your return home is delayed.
3. Photograph your prescriptions and drug containers: if you run out of pills while away, you might be able to use this documentation to purchase additional quantities. Some pharmacies (especially if you have left your country) may not have identical dosages, which would impact the number of pills you take; do not hesitate to discuss this point with your doctor.
Whenever you have questions on how to continue dealing with lipids levels at work, talk to your doctor about all the points that may be an issue for you:
- Reducing noise in the workplace
- incorporating physical activity into sedentary work
- Resisting unhealthy temptations
- Organizing medications
- Sticking to a medication routine while traveling (refer to your doctor should you have any questions).
Do not hesitate to discuss with your private doctor or with the occupational doctor to determine how you can adapt your work environment so that you were able to manage your health.
- Catalina-Romero C, Calvo E, Sánchez-Chaparro M, et al. The relationship between job stress and dyslipidemia. Scand. J. Public Health. 2013; 41(2):142-149.
- Kerns E, Masterson E, Themann CL, Calvert G. Cardiovascular conditions, hearing difficulty, and occupational noise exposure within US industries and occupations. Am J Ind Med. 2018;61(6):477-491.
- Science Daily, Desk jobs are bad for your heart and your waist, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301130518.htm#:~:
%20heart%20disease Published March 2017. Accessed October 30, 2020.
- National Community Pharmacists Association. Medication Adherence in America http://www.ncpa.co/adherence/AdherenceReportCard_Full.pdf, Published 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020.
- Crichton G, Alkerwi A. Physical activity, sedentary behavior time and lipid levels in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study. Lipids Health Dis. 2015; 14: 87.
- DiNicolantonio J, Lucan S, O’Keefe J. The Evidence for Saturated Fat and for Sugar Related to Coronary Heart Disease. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;58(5):464-472.
- American Addiction Centers, Alcoholism and Health Issues: Cholesterol, Triglycerides, the Liver, and More, https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/health-issues, Published June 2020, Accessed October 30, 2020.