What is Hyperlipidemia (commonly called high cholesterol)
Hyperlipidemia is defined as high levels of lipids (fat) in the blood.
Lipid abnormalities are important to treat because they are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, and peripheral arterial disease.
The most commonly referred types of lipids are:
- HDL (or high-density lipoprotein)
- LDL (or low density lipoprotein)
- TG (or triglycerides)
How do we develop Hyperlipidemia
- Primary hyperlipidemia is caused by specific genetic abnormalities and may be inherited
- Secondary hyperlipidemia is caused by other medical conditions. The most important secondary causes of hyperlipidemia are- o Sedentary lifestyle with excessive dietary intake of saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats
How can we tell that we may have Hyperlipidemia
Hyperlipidemia usually has no symptoms.
Very high hyperlipidemia can cause the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath and confusion
- Arcus corneae
- Tendinous xanthoma
- Xanthelasma (lipid rich yellow plaques on the medial eyelids). Xanthelasma can also occur in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis and normal lipid levels.
- Tuberous xanthomas (painless, firm nodules typically located over extensor surfaces of joints)
- Lipemia retinalis (retinal arteries and veins have a creamy white appearance)
Testing for Hyperlipidemia
Diagnosis of hyperlipidemia is by blood test (measuring plasma levels of total cholesterol, TG, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol).
For most patients with newly diagnosed hyperlipidemia, tests for secondary causes of hyperlipidemia should be done. Tests include:
- Fasting glucose
- Liver enzymes
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
- Urinary protein
For those without a prior heart attack or stroke, the 10-year risk of heart disease or stroke may be calculated using the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) algorithm, which provides a useful reference point to assess future risk.
Cross Street Medical offers all relevant hyperlipidemia screening tests. Speak to our doctors about what you may need.
What is the treatment for Hyperlipidemia
Treatment options depend on the specific lipid abnormality, although different lipid abnormalities often coexist.
Hyperlipidemia is usually treated with oral lipid-lowering medication such as statins.
Lipid measurement should be accompanied by assessment for other cardiovascular risk factors, including:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cigarette use
- Family history of coronary artery disease (CAD) in a male 1st-degree relative before age 55 or a female 1st-degree relative before age 65
Treatment of hyperlipidemia should thus include management of these risk factors. For instance, smoking cessation should be strongly encouraged.
In general, treatment options for men and women are the same.
Cross Street Medical offers all relevant treatments for hyperlipidemia. Speak to our doctors about what you may need.
Hyperlipidemia is a Medisave/CHAS claimable chronic condition for eligible patients.