Hyperlipidemia refers to an increased level of lipids or fats the blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Although hyperlipidemia does not cause symptoms its self, it can significantly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which is a disease of blood vessels supplying the heart. It can also increase your risk of cerebrovascular disease (brain) and peripheral vascular disease (limbs). These conditions can in turn lead to chest pain, heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. Because of these risks, treatment is often recommended for people with hyperlipidemia.
Cholesterol is fatty substance that’s carried around your body with your blood. Your body produces some cholesterol naturally, and you can also get it from some foods.
There are 2 different types of cholesterol:
- High density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) is called the ‘good cholesterol’ because it helps to keep cholesterol from building up in your arteries.
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) is called the ‘bad cholesterol’ because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in your arteries.
Total cholesterol is a reading of your good and bad cholesterol.
Triglycerides are another form of fat in your blood that can also raise the risk of heart disease.
When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries (plaque).
Over time, this build up causes ‘hardening of the arteries’ – your arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. You may suffer chest pain and a heart attack.
To find out more about cholesterol access the Heart Foundation website.