Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, refers to increased levels of lipids, or fats, in the blood. This can cause a build up of plaque in the walls of your arteries and reduce the supply of oxygen to your heart. Hyperlipidemia may increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease.
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Most people with hyperlipidemia have no symptoms.
Build up of plaque in your arteries may lead to symptoms of heart attack (chest pain, difficulty breathing), stroke or TIA (speech difficulty, weakness or numbness on one side of your body), or claudication (pain in your calves, thigh, or buttocks with walking).
Hyperlipidemia is diagnosed by a simple blood test, done after you have been fasting at least for 12 hours. The test includes measurement of your total cholesterol, the LDL or “bad cholesterol”, and HDL or “good cholesterol”. In general, the goals for your cholesterol should be
Total cholesterol of less than 200,
Good cholesterol (HDL) above 50
Bad cholesterol (LDL) below 130
Patients with certain conditions, including a history of heart attack, stroke or aortic aneurysm should have even stricter goals for their cholesterol.
Treatment of high cholesterol depends on your risk of developing heart disease. Your doctor will recommend a healthy diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Your doctor may also recommend medicine to help lower your cholesterol to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack. Factors that we take into consideration include:
Your individual cholesterol numbers, including the amount of “good” and “bad” cholesterol
The presence of other health conditions such as heart attack or stroke
The presence of other risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, diabetes, or high blood pressure
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