Hyperlipidemia defines an elevated level of lipids — like cholesterol and triglycerides — in your blood. Doctors link this disease to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other serious conditions like heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
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Lipids — like cholesterol and triglycerides — are a type of fat in the blood. You need lipids to function, but too much of this fat puts you at risk for certain health problems.
People with too much cholesterol and triglycerides have hyperlipidemia, which can increase their risk of:
Acquired hyperlipidemia has a few possible causes:
Familial hyperlipidemias occur when a parent passes on the genes that cause these conditions.
Anyone can be at risk for acquired hyperlipidemia, but it often occurs in people who:
You're at risk for genetic hyperlipidemia if a family member has it. If so, you should have a test for the disease.
Hyperlipidemia can cause fatty deposits, known as plaque, to build up on the body's blood vessel walls.
Plaque can cause problems such as:
We use a team approach to treat hyperlipidemia. A heart disease expert leads this team, which includes pharmacists and dietitians.
If you have hyperlipidemia, you might not have any symptoms.
But, as it gets worse, you might notice:
Doctors at the Center for Inherited Heart Disease use blood tests to diagnose hyperlipidemia.
They'll also ask you about your family history and any other health problems you have.
Doctors might suggest lifestyle changes, such as being more active and eating healthier foods.
They might also prescribe medication to lower lipid levels.
At your first visit, you'll meet with our:
Your care team will then design a hyperlipidemia treatment plan that supports your health goals. It might also include follow-up visits with other UPMC experts.