Q: I have a history of high cholesterol and have been on Zetia.  I started a diet and have lost about 56 lbs.  My cholestrol has dropped over 70 points, but my triglycerides have risen. Can you tell me why that would occur?

It would be easier to answer this if your entire cholesterol profile or breakdown was known.

Currently, there is no indication to be on Zetia alone for cholesterol control. Zetia is almost always used only in combination with statins if they're not fully effective.

Also, despite losing weight, if your triglycerides are high, make sure to check your thyroid status and test for diabetes. If your good cholesterol is also low (less than 40), then you may have metabolic syndrome.

I presume you are avoiding fatty foods, cookies, candies and high-carbohydrate foods, and focusing more on fruits and vegetables, baked chicken, turkey and deep sea fish (such as salmon, halibut, cod, or mackerel) at least three times a week. Deep sea fish or fish oil capsules (2-4 grams daily) can drop triglycerides nicely.

Karthikeyan Ananth, M.D., is a cardiologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.  His clinical interests include congenital heart disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and cardiac imaging.