Related Media: Understanding Cholesterol Levels
Hyperlipidemia is a high level of fats in the blood. These fats, called lipids, include cholesterol and triglycerides. There are five types of hyperlipidemia. The type depends on which lipid in the blood is high.
Causes may include:
These factors increase your chance of developing this condition. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Hyperlipidemia usually does not cause symptoms. Very high levels of lipids or triglycerides can cause:
Hyperlipidemia can increase your risk of
atherosclerosis. This is a dangerous hardening of the arteries. It can end up blocking blood flow. In some cases, this may result in:
This condition is diagnosed with blood tests. These tests measure the levels of lipids in the blood. The National Cholesterol Education Program advises that you have your lipids checked at least once every five years, starting at age 20. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends lipid screening for children at risk (eg, a family history of
Testing may consist of a fasting blood test for:
Your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier testing if you have:
Treatment is not only aimed at correcting your cholesterol levels, but also at lowering your overall risk for heart disease and strokes.
There are a number of drugs available, such as
statins, to treat this condition and help lower your risk for heart disease. Talk to your doctor.
have been shown to reduce mortality (death),
heart attacks, and stroke.
These medicines are best used as additions to diet and exercise and should not replace healthy lifestyle changes.
To help reduce your chance of getting hyperlipidemia, take the following steps:
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 17th ed. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
Hyperlipidemia. Vascular Web website. Available at:
http://www.vascularweb.org/patients/NorthPoint/Hyperlipidemia.html. Updated March 2007. Accessed July 8, 2008.
Kasper DL, Harrison TR.
Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2005.
US Department of Health and Human Services. Side effects of anit-HIV medications. National Institutes of Health website. Available at:
http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/contentfiles/SideEffectAnitHIVMeds_cbrochure_en.pdf. Published October 2005. Accessed July 8, 2008.
7/22/2008 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.dynamicmedical.com/what.php: Daniels SR, Greer FR; Committee on Nutrition. Lipid screening and cardiovascular health in childhood.
Last reviewed September 2011 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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