Hyperlipidemia is a common name for a number of disorders that are characterized by a high level of fat in the blood. The body needs a variety of fat (lipids) that serve as fuel, as a building material and (in the case of cholesterol) as a raw material for the production of hormones and other life essential chemical compounds.
Blood transfers through the body all those needed fats; however, an error (or errors) in that transport system can over-increase the amount of lipids in the blood. Hyperlipidemia is, in some cases, a consequence of an inherited chemical “defect”, but is more commonly associated with some general illness, such as diabetes.
There are no specific symptoms in most types of hyperlipidemia. In very severe types of hyperlipidemia, such as a rare hereditary disease called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), lipid accumulation sometimes creates a yellowish bruises under the skin. Those bruises are particularly pronounced around the elbows, on the skin between the fingers on the hand and on the Archilles’ tendon.
The frequency of hyperlipidemia can not be easily estimated, since in most cases there are no symptoms until the consequences are apparent. International research shows that “safe” level of cholesterol (one of the most important lipids) in the blood is about 120 milligrams (mg) per 100 milliliters (ml), while the concentration of 280 mg per 100 ml in middle-aged persons is very dangerous and may cause coronary thrombosis.
If the serum cholesterol is over 300 mg% (and triglycerides more than 200 mg%), some doctors recommend medicines that can lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
High levels of fat in the blood are probably one of the important causes of atheroma and the formation of fat deposits on the arterial walls. Fat deposits and clotted blood may clog the blood vessels after some time, so a hyperlipidemic person is very susceptible to diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary thrombosis and stroke. Without an examination you probably will not know you have hyperlipidemia. If your health is good, and blood pressure and weight are normal, you do not have to worry about the chemical composition of the blood – unless there are cases of hypercholesterolemia in your family. In this case, contact your doctor.