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How does a doctor determine a patient has hyperlipidemia?

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A doctor determines whether a patient has hyperlipidemia through blood tests, states Society for Vascular Surgery. These blood tests check the levels of various lipids against established ranges to determine whether they are healthy or unhealthy. Triglycerides and cholesterol are two types of blood lipids that indicate risks of health problems when at elevated levels.

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High lipid levels encourage plaques to form on the inside of arteries, hardening them and reducing the space blood has to flow through, explains Society for Vascular Surgery. This in turn leads to an increased risk of vascular diseases and conditions, such as stroke and heart attack. While hyperlipidemia makes these conditions more likely, it creates no symptoms by itself, so blood tests are the only basis for a diagnosis. Regular blood tests can detect hyperlipidemia before it causes any serious health problems.

Smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and genetic factors can increase the likelihood of hyperlipidemia. Other conditions, such as an underactive thyroid, pregnancy, kidney disease and diabetes can also cause hyperlipidemia. Age also plays a role; men over 45 and women over 55 have a greater chance of developing hyperlipidemia. Once diagnosed, hyperlipidemia can be treated with medications such as statins and fibrates. Improved diet and regular exercise can also improve hyperlipidemia.

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