Dyslipidemia vs Hyperlipidemia

This article reveals the differences between dyslipidemia vs hyperlipidemia:


It is defined as having blood lipid (cholesterol, triglycerides, or both) levels that are too high or low.

The condition could mean any of the following situations:

  • high level of triglycerides in the blood – it may raise the risk of coronary artery disease, particularly in women;
  • low level of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) in the blood – it is linked with an increased risk of heart disease;
  • high low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) in the blood – it is a risk for heart disease.

This condition is observed in both sexes, however, it appears to affect men disproportionately as they age.


Common symptoms may include:

  • abdominal pain;
  • chest pain;
  • calf pain when walking;
  • impairment of balance;
  • dizziness;
  • difficulty in speaking;
  • confusion;
  • excessive fatigue;
  • heartburn;
  • indigestion;
  • nausea;
  • a feeling of impending doom;
  • difficulty breathing.


When triglycerides are elevated, it increases the risk for hepatosplenomegaly (a condition that causes swelling of the spleen and liver) and pancreatitis.

Having low HDL levels is associated with a higher risk for heart disease.

Having the condition can result in the formation of plaque inside the arteries, that, in time, contributes to the development of coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis.


The causes can be divided into two main categories:

#1 Primary dyslipidemia – it refers to abnormal lipid levels which are caused by a mutated gene inherited from one or both parents. It is more common in children, however, occasionally, it may affect adults.

#2 Secondary dyslipidemia – it is more common and occurs due to numerous factors, including:

  • sedentarism;
  • a diet rich in saturated and trans-fats;
  • bad sleeping habits;
  • smoking tobacco;
  • obesity;
  • emotional stress.


The diagnosis is established by measuring the levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, and lipoproteins in the blood plasma.


The treatment depends on the symptoms, age, and overall health of the patient.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe you the following medications:

  • probucol (an anti-hyperlipidemic drug);
  • nicotinic acid (a form of vitamin B3);
  • ezetimibe (acts by decreasing cholesterol absorption in the small intestine);
  • fenofibrate;
  • gemfibrozil;
  • colestipol;
  • cholestyramine;
  • rosuvastatin;
  • fluvastatin (a member of the statin drug class);
  • simvastatin;
  • pravastatin;
  • atorvastatin.

Lifestyle changes that can help to treat the condition include:

  • drinking more water;
  • exercising regularly;
  • quitting smoking tobacco as well as second-hand smoking;
  • reducing your alcoholic beverages consumption;
  • eating more dietary fiber, like – fruits, legumes, green vegetables, seeds, and nuts;
  • reducing your intake of foods that have a high fat, cholesterol, and sodium content, such as – hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, french fries, doughnuts, ice cake, cheese, and eggs;
  • sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night;
  • maintaining a healthy body weight.


The general lipids recommended goals include:

  • HDL cholesterol – more than 1.0 mmol/L;
  • LDL cholesterol – less than 2.5 mmol/L;
  • total cholesterol – less than 4.0 mmol/L;
  • triglyceride levels – less than 1.5 mmol/L.

For adults with diabetes, it has been recommended that the levels of triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol, be measured once a year.


It is a medical term for abnormally high levels of fats in the blood. It is the most common form of dyslipidemia (that also includes any abnormal lipid levels).


You may have this condition and have no symptoms. However, as plaque slowly builds up in the blood vessels over time, symptoms can include:

  • chest pain which occurs when the heart muscle can’t get enough oxygen;
  • leg discomfort;
  • angina;
  • leg pain or cramping which occurs when walking;
  • shortness of breath;
  • pain in the ball of the foot or toes;
  • pain or pressure in your arms, neck, jaw, shoulders, or back;
  • blue or black discoloration of the toes;
  • painful foot ulcers;
  • chest pain, which may feel like pressure in your chest;
  • partial vision loss in one eye;
  • numbness on one side of your body;
  • sudden, severe headache.


Complications associated with this condition include:

  • stroke;
  • peripheral arterial disease;
  • coronary artery disease (the leading cause of death in women and men);
  • obesity;
  • diabetes.


Hyperlipidemia is most commonly associated with a sedentary lifestyle, high-fat diets, diabetes, and obesity.

Here are some of the foods that can cause this condition:

  • egg yolks;
  • cake;
  • meats;
  • poultry;
  • ice-cream;
  • cheese;
  • butter;
  • hamburgers;
  • pancakes;
  • doughnuts;
  • French fries;
  • onion rings;
  • beer;
  • margarine.

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Risk Factors

Risk factors include:

  • underactive thyroid;
  • eating foods with saturated and trans fats;
  • some depression medications;
  • eating animal protein, such as – eggs, meat, and dairy products;
  • diuretics;
  • not getting enough exercise;
  • birth control pills;
  • bad sleeping habits;
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (an imbalance of reproductive hormones);
  • not eating enough healthy fats (nuts & seeds);
  • diabetes;
  • regular emotional stress;
  • kidney disease;
  • obesity;
  • vitamin D deficiency;
  • drinking alcoholic beverages excessively;
  • smoking tobacco;
  • large waist circumference.

Note – the condition has been reported in liver transplant survivors.

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Healthcare providers usually detect this condition through blood lipid levels tests, which are conducted after about 10 hours fast.


Treatment is focused on:

  • increasing dietary fiber intake from nutrition (broccoli, red kidney beans, cabbage, apples, pineapples, radishes, papayas, mangoes, garlic, onions, pears, oatmeal, oat bran, lima beans, chickpeas, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, lentils, white beans, or tomatoes);
  • reducing intake of saturated and trans fat (junk foods and animal-based foods);
  • exercising regularly, focusing on cardiovascular workouts (walking or cycling – minimum of 60 minutes every second day);
  • reducing excess weight by approximately 10% of total body weight;
  • ceasing smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages.

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Here are some prevention methods that may help you:

  • increase aerobic exercise;
  • if you drink alcohol, drink in moderation or stop;
  • if you smoke, stop;
  • avoid foods that are high in cholesterol, like red meat, eggs (yolks), poultry, organ meats, butter, cheese, and other whole-milk dairy products;
  • avoid vegetable oils;
  • avoid saturated fats and trans-fats;
  • eat foods that include vegetables, most fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and herbs;
  • aim for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Dyslipidemia vs Hyperlipidemia – Differences

Dyslipidemia occurs when someone has abnormal levels (high or low) of lipids in their blood. The most common type of dyslipidemia is hyperlipidemia.

Hyperlipidemia represents abnormally elevated levels of any or all lipids in the blood.

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