What is Hyperlipidemia? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Diagnosis   

Hyperlipidemia is a pathological condition in which the level of lipids increases in your blood. Lipids are the esters of fatty acids and alcohol. Lipids can be saturated (fats) or unsaturated (oils) depending upon their structure and nature. The human body contains mostly fats in the stored form as well as in the bloodstream. Important lipids found in the human body include cholesterol and other lipoproteins.

What is Cholesterol and how it is transported in the Body?

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring steroidal lipid in human blood. It plays an integral part in body functions. Cholesterol is transported from blood to the organs in the form of lipoproteins. These complex molecules are a combination of lipids and proteins.

Lipoproteins can be of various types depending upon their relevant densities. LDL is the low-density lipoprotein that is known as bad cholesterol due to its unhealthy effects on the body. HDL is the high-density lipoprotein that is known as good cholesterol due to its healthy effects on the body. Others are triglycerides and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein).

Role of Lipids in the Human Body

  • Lipids are the long-term energy source for our body. Beta oxidation breaks down the lipids for the purpose of energy generation. Lipids generate more energy than glucose.
  • The lipids found in our meals act as a transporter for the transportation of fat-soluble vitamins in our diet including vitamin A, D, E & K.
  • Lipids are an integral part of the cell membrane. Intracellular or extracellular transportation is controlled by membranous lipoproteins.
  • Cholesterol serves as a precursor for the steroidal hormones in humans. Oestrogen, progesterone, and, testosterone has common precursor.
  • Cholesterol that is present beneath our skin is converted into the steroidal vitamin known as vitamin D. This vitamin is synthesized in the presence of sunlight that is absorbed by cholesterol and is converted into vitamin D or calciferol.
  • Cholesterol is also involved in the production of bile from the liver that is needed for the emulsification of fats in the intestines.

Laboratory values (Normal verses Hyperlipidemia)

Cholesterol levels: Normal= <150 -200mg/dl and high= >200mg/dl

Triglycerides: Normal= <150mg/dl and high=>200-500mg/dl

LDL: Normal=60-130mg/dl and high= 160-189mg/dl

HDL: Normal= 60mg/dl and high risk = <35mg/dl

Complications of Hyperlipidemia


Low-density lipoproteins along with cholesterol and calcium accumulate in the arterial walls forming the plaque. This plaque causes hindrance in the flow of blood through arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis. People suffering from this condition are prone to hypertension and ischemic heart disease.

Brain stroke

Blockade of carotid artery due to lipid accumulation and the blood flow towards the brain will slow down causing brain stroke.


In Hyperlipidemia, fats are stored in the adipose tissues that increase body mass index. Obese patients are at high risk of getting heart diseases.

Heart diseases

Ischemia due to plaque formation within the blood vessels causes hypoxia. Hypoxia is the condition in which oxygen supply to the organs decreases due to ischemia. People with high cholesterol levels are prone to heart diseases. Hypertension is one of the major pathological conditions seen in Hyperlipidemia.

Hormonal imbalance

Increased production of sexual hormones like estrogen and testosterone is seen when cholesterol levels are high in the body. Growth hormone deficiency is seen in Hyperlipidemia patients.

Treatment of Hyperlipidemia

  • Medicines are available to stop the synthesis or reduce the absorption of lipids.
  • BMI control and weight loss can improve the condition.
  • Regular exercise is essential for a healthy heart and control of body weight.
  • DASH diet is preferred for high cholesterol patients.

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