What is Hyperlipidemia? – Risk, Causes, Diagnosis
Hyperlipidemia is a serious medical condition characterized by an excessive amount of fatty substances called the lipids, triglycerides and high cholesterol in an individuals blood. These fatty substances get attached to proteins and follow the bloodstream, it is the only way how they can remain dissolved in circulation. Fat proteins in the bloodstream are called lipoproteins, and best known lipoproteins are high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL)
Types of Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia is divided in to two sub-categories
- Hypercholesterolemia, in which the bloodstream is effected by high levels of cholesterol
- Hypertriglyceridemia, where the bloodstream contains high levels of triglycerides
Causes of Hyperlipidemia
- Secondary causes for hypercholesterolemia include low thyroid hormone level (also known as hypothyroidism), kidney failure and pregnancy.
- Secondary causes for hypertriglyceridemia include obesity, excess alcohol intake, diabetes, certain medications like estrogen and glucocorticoids.
Risks of Hyperlipidemia
Both hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia are serious conditions and they can lead to hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart disease
Symptoms of Hyperlipidemia
- Hyperlipidemia does not has any noticeable symptoms, it is usually diagnosed during routine examination or during evaluation of cardiovascular disease.
- However, high level deposits of cholesterol can cause numerous lesions (pimple-like shaped) across the body
- Extreme levels of triglycerides can result in pancreatitis, it is a severe inflammation of pancreas and it can be life-threatening.
Diagnosis of Hyperlipidemia
- It is usually based on physical examination, blood tests (generally after overnight fasting) and most importantly the patients medical history
- These diagnosis will determine the levels of triglycerides, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- The treatment for hyperlipidemia is entirely based on the underlying medical problems and the current condition of the individual