What is Hyperlipidemia

High cholesterol, hyperlipidemia or dyslipidemia are all names of excess amount of lipids in your blood. Hyperlipidemia can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes because the blood cannot flow smoothly inside your vessels. In this video I will discuss more about hyperlipidemia.


There are many causes for hyperlipidemia such as:

SmokingAlcohol drinkingLack of physical activity and less exerciseEating fatty food and food rich in saturated fatty acidsStress and family history of hyperlipidemiaObesity and overweightSome medications can also cause hyperlipidemia such as steroids, hormonal birth control pills, beta blockers, HIV medications and diureticsSome diseases can also cause hyperlipidemia such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, lupus, liver disease, hypothyroidism, multiple myeloma and HIV


Usually high cholesterol does not demonstrate specific symptoms. However, too much cholesterol and lipids in the blood is not healthy because it causes interruption of your smooth blood flow in the arteries which can cause damage to your organs because of less blood supply. Bad cholesterol which is called Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) can collect inside the wall of the artery causing plaque which can get harder, then it can rupture and cause dangerous complications such as:

Heart attacksStrokesCoronary heart diseasePeripheral artery diseaseCarotid artery diseaseSudden cardiac deathOrgan damageThis is why hyperlipidemia can be very serious if not well controlled. 


Diagnosis of hyperlipidemia requires a physical exam, careful medical and family history, and of course blood test.

Blood test usually will investigate the lipid panel and tell you the numbers:

High cholesterol is defined as a cholesterol level more than 200mg/dL, however hyperlipidemia is also diagnosed by other lipids. Bad cholesterol which is called “Low Density Lipoprotein” level is usually more than 100mg/dL, the good cholesterol (HDL), is usually lower than 60mg/dL, and triglycerides more than 150mg/dL. 

Other diagnostic tests can also be used such as coronary calcium scan, and C-reactive protein level.


The first step in treatment of hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol is lifestyle modification to improve the numbers. These lifestyle changes include:

Regular exerciseQuitting smokingEating healthy less fatty foodControlling stress levelLimit alcohol drinkingLosing weight

That can be enough for many people. However, this may not be enough for other people and they may require medicine. The most common medicine to take is Statin, which is a type of medicine that decreases the bad cholesterol in the blood. Other medication classes can also be considered if you cannot tolerate statins or have adverse reactions for statins.

The doctor will test your blood every 3-4 months after starting therapy to monitor the progress of treatment.


You may help preventing hyperlipidemia and high cholesterol by doing the following:

Stop smokingEat healthy, avoid fast food and fatty foodExercise regularlySleep wellKeep your stress levels downKeep your weight healthy