Hyperlipidaemia is the term used to denote raised serum levels of one or more of total cholesterol (TChol), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TGs), or both TChol and TG (combined hyperlipidaemia).

Hyperlipidemia, hyperlipoproteinemia, or hyperlipidaemia (British English) involves abnormally elevated levels of any or all lipids and/or lipoproteins in the blood. It is the most common form of dyslipidemia (which includes any abnormal lipid levels).

Lipids (fat-soluble molecules) are transported in a protein capsule. The size of that capsule, or lipoprotein, determines its density. The lipoprotein density and type of apolipoproteins it contains determines the fate of the particle and its influence on metabolism.

Hyperlipidemias are divided into primary and secondary subtypes. Primary hyperlipidemia is usually due to genetic causes (such as a mutation in a receptor protein), while secondary hyperlipidemia arises due to other underlying causes such as diabetes. Lipid and lipoprotein abnormalities are common in the general population, and are regarded as a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease due to their influence on atherosclerosis. In addition, some forms may predispose to acute pancreatitis.

Hyperlipidaemia is often found when people are overweight or have an unhealthy diet. It can also be the result ofdrinking too much alcohol.

It can be something that you may have inherited through your family genes (known as primary) and approximately 1 person in 500 will have this cause.

It may be because of another medical condition that you may have, such as diabetes, when it is known as secondary. Other causes include:

  • An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  • Obstructive jaundice.
  • Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Anorexia nervosa.
  • Nephrotic syndrome.
  • Chronic kidney disease.

Some prescribed medicines can affect your cholesterol level, including:

  • Thiazide diuretics (used to control blood pressure).
  • Glucocorticoids (steroids).
  • Ciclosporin (used after organ transplants).
  • Antiretroviral therapy (used to treat HIV infection).
  • Beta-blockers (used to control heart rate).
  • The combined oral contraceptive pill.
  • Atypical antipsychotics (used in some mental health problems).
  • Retinoic acid derivatives (used in some skin conditions).
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