It is an inherited disorder that causes high cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides in the blood.
Hyperlipidemia, also called multiple lipoprotein hyperlipidemia, is a genetic disorder in which a combination of high cholesterol and high triglycerides is inherited and passed on among family members.
Many patients with mixed hyperlipidemia are asymptomatic (they have no symptoms). Others do experience symptoms, which include:
- Pain in the chest ( angina ).
- Xanthoma (a condition in which fat accumulates below the surface of the skin).
- Xanthelasma of the eyelid (which is the same as a xanthoma, but is found on the eyelid.
- Pain in the abdomen.
- Enlargement of the spleen .
- Liver enlarged.
Patients with mixed hyperlipidemia have an increased risk of developing early coronary heart disease and heart attacks, and they also have a higher rate of glucose intolerance and obesity.
Although mixed hyperlipidemia is hereditary, there are factors that can make it worse. These include:
Family history of high cholesterol and early heart disease are risk factors for developing the disorder.
A type of condition can be identified with genetic tests. Otherwise, blood tests are the main means of diagnosing mixed hyperlipidemia.
The specific tests that your doctor will perform include checking the levels of:
- LDL: low density lipoprotein.
- HDL: high density lipoprotein, which helps move fats, cholesterol and triglycerides throughout the body. They are associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease.
- Triglycerides: produced in the body, they also come from food. Unburned calories are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
- Apolipoprotein B100: this test measures a specific protein that plays a key role in metabolism and is type of LDL.
The goal of any treatment for mixed hyperlipidemia is to reduce the risk of complications and diseases of the heart.
Generally, a combination of lifestyle changes and medications are used to help treat mixed hyperlipidemia. The goal of treatment is not to cure the disorder, but to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Changes in lifestyle:
Changes in diet and lifestyle are a common first line treatment. Here are some changes to consider:
- Adjust your total fat intake to no more than 30% of your total daily calories.
- Reduce your consumption of saturated fats.
- Eat less meat .
- Eat more fiber, this helps you feel fuller so you can eat less total calories.
- Avoid egg yolks and organ meats that are high in cholesterol.
- Regular exercise and weight loss are other ways that you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
If diet and exercise do not reduce cholesterol levels, your doctor may prescribe medications such as statins, nicotinic acid, omega-3 (which help reduce triglyceride levels) or fibrates.
Individual results will vary depending on how early you are diagnosed and how well you follow and respond to treatment.
Your doctor will determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation. Some people with very high levels are still susceptible to complications, even with medical intervention.
If left untreated, mixed hyperlipidemia can cause stroke , heart attack, or atherosclerotic heart disease, all of which can lead to premature death.
If you know you have a family history of this condition, the genetic test can identify the disease in the early stages (where you are likely to be more receptive to dietary therapy). Following a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help control LDL levels in high-risk patients.
If you have other risk factors for heart disease or heart attack (such as smoking or obesity ), it is important to try to control those additional factors to minimize the risk of an early heart attack or death.