Hyperlipidemia might sound like a complex condition, but it’s actually a pretty common condition. It refers to a condition that occurs when there are high levels of fat or lipids in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, this issue has become more of a common problem in today’s world, thanks to rising obesity rates.
The two types of fats that are found in the blood are cholesterol and triglycerides. When your body stores calories for energy at a later stage, it makes triglycerides. Additionally, this substance can come directly from dairy foods and red meat. Cholesterol, on the other hand, is a substance produced naturally by the liver. Every cell in your body uses cholesterol – so it’s important to remember that not all cholesterol are necessarily bad.
Perhaps the most common term for hyperlipidemia is simply “high cholesterol”. But it’s important to understand exactly what cholesterol is, and how large amounts of it in your bloodstream can damage your health if you want to know how to get to the bottom of this condition.
For instance, remember that cholesterol is simply the fatty substance that moves through your body on lipoproteins. When you have too much of this substance in your body, it can begin to build up on your blood vessel walls, causing deposits that gradually start to clog the arteries, leading to cardio problems like strokes and heart attacks.
What Is Hyperlipidemia: Getting A Diagnosis
If you’re asking the question “what is hyperlipidemia?” then your doctor has probably already spoken to you about the dangers of having high cholesterol. This particular condition doesn’t cause any symptoms, so the only way it can be detected is if your doctor performs a blood test which checks for the presence of fats in your blood. A lipid profile will help to determine your cholesterol levels, and you will get a full insight into your total cholesterol, your LDL cholesterol, your HDL cholesterol, and your triglycerides.
If you’re having a test for hyperlipidemia, then your doctor might ask you to avoid eating anything for up to 12 hours before the examination. However, fasting won’t always be necessary. The key thing to remember is that a cholesterol level of over 200mg per deciliter is generally considered very high. However, the correct level of cholesterol can differ from person to another.
Risk Factors for Hyperlipidemia:
If you’re wondering about hyperlipidemia, and how you can protect yourself from it, one of the first things you’ll need to know is whether you’re more likely to be at risk. There are two types of cholesterol in the body, called HDL and LDL cholesterol.
Otherwise known as bad cholesterol, LDL cholesterol builds up in the artery walls of your body, causing them to become narrow and hard. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol cleans away excess LDL, and makes it easier for blood to flow around your body. Bad lifestyle choices most commonly cause high levels of LDL cholesterol, while reducing good cholesterol levels.
For instance, if you don’t get enough exercise, eat a lot of foods with trans and saturated fats, and generally spend too much time eating animal protein, then you may have a greater risk of hyperlipidemia. Additionally, if you’re asking “what is hyperlipidemia?” then it may be worth noting that your risk of having this condition increases if you have obesity, drink a lot of alcohol, smoke regularly, or suffer from kidney disease.
Abnormal cholesterol levels can also appear in people with specific health conditions, including an underactive thyroid, pregnancy, diabetes, and kidney disease. Also, some medications can impact cholesterol level, including birth control pills, diuretics, and depression medications.
What Is Hyperlipidemia (Familial Combined)
Interestingly, while most cases of high cholesterol can be linked to problems with bad diet and exercise, there is one type of hyperlipidemia that can be obtained from your grandparents or parents. This is called familial combined hyperlipidemia, and it causes high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. People who have this condition often develop high triglyceride levels in their early teens, and generally receive a diagnosis in their early 20s or 30s.
This genetic condition is just as dangerous as any other kind of high cholesterol, as it can increase your chances of suffering from a range of heart related conditions. In fact, this type of Hyperlipidemia is particularly associated with an increased risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease.
Unlike people who only suffer from the standard form of high cholesterol that’s caused by a lack of exercise or poor dietary choices, there are many symptoms that are more likely to be associated with the genetic form of this disease. For instance, if you suffer from familial combined hyperlipidemia, then you might experience symptoms of cardiovascular disease as the years pass, including chest pain at a younger age, and heart attack at a younger age.
Occasionally, people with the genetic form of high cholesterol experience cramps when they’re walking, and sores on their toes that don’t heal as they’re supposed to. Stroke symptoms are also common, including drooping on one side of the face, trouble speaking, or weakness in the extremities.
The Outlook for Hyperlipidemia:
Ultimately, if you’ve found yourself asking “What is hyperlipidemia?” lately, then there’s a good chance you simply want to know what your outlook is like if you have this particular condition. People with untreated hyperlipidemia are generally more likely to suffer from coronary heart disease than the average population. Heart disease is a very common condition for these individuals in which plaque can begin to build up inside the walls of the heart.
Hardening in the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis, can happen when plaque builds up too. Over time, this build up will narrow the arteries and could even block them completely. Ideally, if you are concerned that you might suffer from hyperlipidemia, or you think that your risk level is higher than average, the best thing you can do is take steps to reduce your cholesterol levels. This might mean dedicating some time exercising a few times a week, or simply reducing the saturated and trans fats in your diet.
You should also think about changing some of the foods you eat. For instance, you could eat more healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, and reduce your intake of red meats and processed foods.