Hyperlipidemia - definition, symptoms and treatment

Hyperlipidemia - definition, symptoms and treatment - picture

FragmentHealth.com » The cardiovascular system » Hyperlipidemia symptoms

What is Hyperlipidemia and Definition

Hyperlipidemia is a disorder of lipid METABOLISM, also called hyperlipoproteinemia, that results in abnormally high levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins in the BLOOD circulation. Hyperlipidemia is a key contributor to ATHEROSCLEROSIS, CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE (CAD), and PERIPHERAL VASCULAR DISEASE (PVD). Hyperlipidemia also can cause health conditions such as PANCREATITIS. Some forms of hyperlipidemia are familial or hereditary and may manifest regardless of lifestyle. Medications can cause hyperlipidemia as well, notably oral contraceptives (birth control pills), estrogen therapy, thiazide diuretics, and corticosteroids. Hyperlipidemia may also be a sign of other health conditions such as CUSHING’S SYNDROME, DIABETES, LIVER dysfunction, and SYSTEMIC LUPUS ERYTHEMATOSUS (SLE). In most people who have hyperlipidemia, however, it appears that lifestyle factors interact with genetics.

Doctors measure lipid levels in the blood and consider them individually as well as in correlation to each other in determining the extent of cardiovascular risk they pose. There are five types, or classifications, of hyperlipidemia that have unique presentations, genetic factors, and characteristic progressions. The five types of hyperlipidemia are

  • type I, a rare inherited lipid disorder sometimes called apolipoprotein C-II deficiency, in which very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides and lipids called chylomicrons accumulate in the bloodstream
  • type II, a common group of familial or acquired lipid disorders, sometimes called hypercholesterolemia, in which low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood are elevated, and there may be apolipoprotein B deficiency
  • type III, an uncommon familial lipid disorder in which VLDL and total cholesterol are elevated, usually resulting from apolipoprotein E deficiency
  • type IV, a common familial or acquired lipid disorder in which blood lipid elevations are associated with OBESITY and decline with weight loss
  • type V, an uncommon lipid disorder in which triglycerides are extremely elevated, though other blood lipid levels are fairly normal, and that frequently causes pancreatitis

Most forms of hyperlipidemia can occur without evidence of familial or hereditary connections.

Symptoms of Hyperlipidemia and Diagnostic Path

Hyperlipidemia itself does not cause symptoms. Doctors detect hyperlipidemia through blood tests, conducted after an 8- to 12-hour fast, that measure blood lipid levels. The pretest fast is important to remove any dietary influences. Elevated blood lipid levels are diagnostic. When blood lipid levels are extremely high and other risks for CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD) exist, the doctor may recommend further evaluation to look for CAD, PVD, and other atherosclerotic conditions.

Hyperlipidemia Treatment Options and Outlook

Regardless of the cause of elevated blood lipids, the important therapeutic goal is to reduce them. For people who have mild to moderate elevations and no other cardiovascular disease risk factors (including family history of hyperlipidemia), lifestyle changes alone may be enough to bring lipid levels down to acceptable ranges. Doctors are generally willing to give this approach about two months to lower blood lipid levels. When lipid levels remain elevated despite lifestyle changes, or the person cannot make adequate lifestyle changes, health experts recommend lipid-lowering medications. Lowering blood lipids results in a significant decrease in cardiovascular risk, especially for early CAD and HEART ATTACK (before age 40).

atorvastatin fluvastatin lovastatin
(Lipitor) (Lescol) (Mevacor)
pravastatin simvastatin  
(Pravachol) (Zocor)  
clofibrate fenofibrate gemfibrozil
(Atromid-S) (Tricor) (Lopid)
Bile acid sequestrants
cholestyramine colesevelam colestipol
(Questran, Prevalite) (WelChol) (Colestid)
Selective cholesterol absorption inhibitors
ezetimibe (Zetia)  

Many doctors recommend niacin, either alone or in combination with lipid-lowering medications, to help lower blood lipid levels. Niacin decreases the liver’s production of VLDL and lowdensity lipoprotein (LDL), which curtails triglyceride production. Niacin can cause unpleasant facial flushing and tingling sensations in the fingers and toes, however, even at low doses.

Risk Factors and Preventive Measures

The key risk factors for hyperlipidemia are family history and lifestyle habits. Most people can lower their risk for hyperlipidemia through eating habits and exercise. Even in combination with medication, lifestyle factors are important for maintaining healthy lipid metabolism.


Resource: Facts On File Encyclopedia Of Health And Medicine

Each atricle being rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Please rate this article
Article Rating: 2,4 stars of 5

Discussion and opinions:

Insert your opinion:

Tweet this page

Other Articles

Aerobic fitness and Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system |

Aerobic Fitness and Cardiovascular System The efficiency with which the cardiovascular system functions to meet the oxygen needs of cells throughout the body, particularly under the increased pressure of intense physical activity or exercise. The higher a person’s aerobic FITNESS LEVEL, the more air the LUNGS can take in each breath, the more oxygen

Aging, cardiovascular changes that occur with

The cardiovascular system |

The most significant age-related changes in cardiovascular function occur at birth in both sexes and with MENOPAUSE in women. Though changes in METABOLISM occur with aging that affect all body systems, researchers now believe cardiovascular health does not inherently decline simply as a function of aging. DIABETES, OBESITY, lack of physical exercise, and

Aneurysm definition and symptoms

The cardiovascular system |

What is Aneurysm and Definition Aneurysm is a weakened and often distended (stretched) area in the wall of an ARTERY. Though an aneurysm may develop in any artery, the most common location is the descending or abdominal AORTA. An aneurysm is potentially life-threatening. The continual pressure of the BLOOD flowing through the artery pressures the weakened

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

The cardiovascular system |

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome - An inherited ARRHYTHMIA disorder in which an extra conduction pathway, called an accessory pathway, exists between the heart’s atria and ventricles. The accessory pathway allows the heart’s electrical pacing impulse to bypass the normal conductive route, reaching the

Ventricular fibrillation - treatment

The cardiovascular system |

What is Ventricular Fibrillation Ventricular fibrillation - Rapid, irregular, ineffective contractions of the heart’s ventricles. Ventricular fibrillation quickly becomes fatal without treatment. The HEART cannot pump blood to the LUNGS or to the body when it is in ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening event that

Ventricular assist devices (VADs)

The cardiovascular system |

What is Ventricular assist devices (VADs) Ventricular Assist Devices - Implanted mechanical pumps that aid the native HEART, taking over some of the workload of the ventricles. Several types of VADs are available, each with somewhat different features and functions. A VAD may assist the right or left ventricle, and in some cases both ventricles, as a

Venogram - diagnostic procedure - definition

The cardiovascular system |

What is Venogram - diagnostic procedure Venogram is a diagnostic procedure to evaluate the flow of blood in the veins, usually in the legs. The cardiologist may use venogram to diagnose VARICOSE VEINS, VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY, or DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT). For venogram, the radiologist injects a small amount of contrast dye into the affected VEIN network and

Chronic Venous Insufficiency - symptoms and treatment

The cardiovascular system |

What is chronic Venous Insufficiency and Symptoms Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition in which the veins cannot adequately return BLOOD to the HEART, usually as a consequence of defective valves that allow blood to leak back and pool in the veins. Some people do not have valves in their veins, a circumstance that is a CONGENITAL ANOMALY. Venous

Vena Cava - Function and definition

The cardiovascular system |

Vena Cava are the two largest veins in human body together called the venae. These veins collectively return deoxygenated BLOOD to the HEART. Both of them deplete all the blood into the right atrium. The superior vena cava, large but short vein, brings blood from the upper part of the organism, the head and upper limbs, and empties into the top of the right

Vein - what is and definition

The cardiovascular system |

What is Vein and Definition Vein - A blood vessel that carries BLOOD to the HEART. All veins except the PULMONARY VEINS carry deoxygenated blood; the pulmonary veins return oxygenated blood to the heart from the LUNGS. Because veins lack the muscular structure and contractile capability of arteries, they have valves that keep blood moving only in one