Hyperlipidemia is a medical term for abnormally high levels of fats (lipids) in the blood. The two major types of lipids found in the blood are triglycerides and cholesterol.
Triglycerides are made when your body stores the extra calories it doesn’t need for energy. They also come directly from your diet in foods such as red meat and whole-fat dairy. A diet high in refined sugar, fructose, and alcohol raises triglycerides.
Cholesterol is produced naturally in your liver because every cell in your body uses it. Similar to triglycerides, cholesterol is also found in fatty foods like eggs, red meat, and cheese.
Hyperlipidemia is more commonly known as high cholesterol. Although high cholesterol can be inherited, it’s more often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that travels through your bloodstream on proteins called lipoproteins. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on the walls of your blood vessels and form plaque. Over time, plaque deposits grow larger and begin to clog up your arteries, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Hyperlipidemia has no symptoms, so the only way to detect it is to have your doctor perform a blood test called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. This test determines your cholesterol levels. Your doctor will take a sample of your blood and send it to a lab for testing, then get back to you with a full report. Your report will show your levels of:
- total cholesterol
- low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
- high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
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