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Hyperlipidemia: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Plans

At Bhat Internal Medicine, the needs and treatment of our patients is our highest priority. Dr. Muralikrishna Bhat and his team are experienced in cases of hyperlipidemia and can work with you to develop a treatment plan that works for you.

What is hyperlipidemia?

Hyperlipidemia is a condition in which the patient’s blood contains too many lipids (fats). While hyperlipidemia may cover many different conditions, the most commonly well-known causes are high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

Having high lipid levels in the bloodstream can present numerous health risks. The most common is the process of atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries. As we age, a sticky substance made up of lipids and other materials circulating in the blood called plaque builds up in the arterial walls. An excess of plaque can cause your arteries to narrow and become restricted. As plaque builds up, this may reduce blood flow through your arteries, which can increase your chances of heart disease, stroke, and other vascular conditions.

Causes and symptoms

While hyperlipidemia itself does not cause any noticeable symptoms, it is in itself a result of several medical conditions and lifestyle choices. Lifestyle contributors to hyperlipidemia may include lack of exercise, obesity and smoking. Common medical conditions that may lead to hyperlipidemia include kidney disease, diabetes, pregnancy and certain thyroid conditions.

Hyperlipidemia may also be passed down genetically from family members who suffer from the disease.

Patients who are at risk for developing hyperlipidemia are men age 45 and up, and women age 55 and up. People who smoke, are overweight, or suffer from kidney disease or diabetes are also at greater risk. People who have close relatives that developed early heart disease are also at an increased risk.

Diagnosis and treatment

Hyperlipidemia is easily diagnosed through a common blood test. Since hyperlipidemia does not cause specific symptoms, many people carry the disease without even knowing it. It is recommended that people get a blood test to test for hyperlipidemia every five years after their 20th birthday. Patients who are either medically or environmentally at risk of the disease should especially have their lipid levels tested regularly.

Your blood test will allow your doctor to see the lipid levels in your blood and compare them to previous results. These ranges will allow your doctor to diagnose hyperlipidemia and decide the best course of action to take.

The proper treatment for hyperlipidemia will depend on a variety of factors such as your lipid levels, your risk of heart disease, and your general age and health.

Ideally, hyperlipidemia may be treated simply through lifestyle changes. Changes such as reducing your saturated fat intake, quitting smoking, exercising more, limiting your dietary cholesterol and eating more soluble fiber have proven effective in lowering lipid levels.

If your doctor believes you are at a greater risk for heart disease, or if lifestyle changes have not made improvement in your lipid levels, lipid-lowering medication may be the recommended course of treatment.

If you or someone you know feels at risk of hyperlipidemia, we encourage you to contact Dr. Bhat’s office to schedule an appointment. Our office accepts most major insurance plans.

To learn more about hyperlipidemia or to schedule an appointment call us today at 520-290-9151.