Hyperlipidemia refers to elevated levels of lipids (fats) in the blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. It often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms on its own, but over time, it can contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Symptoms typically become evident when complications, such as atherosclerosis, occur. Common signs and symptoms associated with hyperlipidemia and its complications include:
- None or Mild Symptoms: Hyperlipidemia often doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, so individuals may be unaware of their elevated lipid levels unless diagnosed through blood tests.
- Angina: Reduced blood flow to the heart due to atherosclerosis can lead to chest pain or discomfort known as angina.
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD): Atherosclerosis in the arteries outside the heart can cause symptoms such as leg pain, cramping, or weakness during physical activity.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) or Stroke: Reduced blood flow to the brain can result in temporary neurological symptoms (TIAs) or more severe consequences like stroke.
- Xanthomas: Fatty deposits called xanthomas may develop under the skin, particularly around the eyes, elbows, knees, or hands.
- Corneal Arcus: A white or gray ring may form around the cornea due to cholesterol deposits.
- Yellowish Skin Lesions: Known as xanthelasma, yellowish lesions may appear on the eyelids.
It’s essential to recognize that hyperlipidemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, and its impact often becomes apparent through associated complications rather than specific symptoms. Routine cholesterol screenings are crucial for early detection, especially in individuals with risk factors like a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or obesity.
Lifestyle modifications, such as a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, and, in some cases, medication, are commonly recommended for managing hyperlipidemia. If you suspect elevated lipid levels or experience symptoms related to cardiovascular issues, consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.