In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan.


Hyperlipidemia is a condition that incorporates various genetic and acquired disorders that describe elevated lipid levels within the human body. Hyperlipidemia is extremely common, especially in the Western hemisphere, but also throughout the world. Alternatively, a more objective definition describes hyperlipidemia as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), total cholesterol, triglyceride levels, or lipoprotein levels greater than the 90th percentile in comparison to the general population, or an HDL level less than the 10th percentile when compared to the general population. Lipids typically include cholesterol levels, lipoproteins, chylomicrons, VLDL, LDL, apolipoproteins, and HDL.

Through a vast array of trials and studies, it has been consistently shown that elevated levels of LDL cholesterol increase a person's risk for the development of atherosclerotic plaques and subsequent vascular disease. In stark contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol assists in regulating cholesterol levels to prevent imbalances that would increase the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease. Each patient's LDL cholesterol goal is conditional on their overall cardiovascular risk, and medical therapy should be independently tailored to the patient. Managing risk factors, such as hyperlipidemia, to diminish the risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is referred to as "primary prevention." The grounds for lowering LDL cholesterol derives from widespread epidemiologic data that reveals a positive, continuous correlation between LDL cholesterol levels, cardiovascular events, and patient mortality.

Treatment of hyperlipidemia continues to evolve as we better conceptualize the underlying pathophysiology, and we concurrently improve on preceding medical therapies. This article will overview the background, diagnosis, and most recent treatment guidelines for hyperlipidemia.

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