The diagnosis of Hyperlipidaemia is often an incidental finding from a routine screening by a patients’ General Practitioner who may be conducting a cardiovascular risk assessment. In the cases of a familial/genetic cause, this is typically part of a family referral for assessment.
There are some physical signs that may cause suspicion of high cholesterol levels, they can include:
Blood cholesterol levels are often taken when the patient is fasting which measures the following blood levels:
However, cholesterol/lipid levels are often used as part of a comprehensive review of a patient’s overall cardiovascular risk (CVD) using an assessment calculator. These calculators are used to identify an absolute CVD risk profile, in conjunction with other clinical considerations, to estimate the potential for a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke for each patient.
These clinical considerations may include (but are not limited to):
Both cholesterol levels and clinical considerations are then used to determine the total CVD risk dependant on all of the risk factors associated with each individual patient. These factors allow physicians to indicate what the likely risk for each patient might be in terms of the potential of cardiovascular disease or a cardiac event.
These groups are:
The acceptable range for cholesterol levels may depend on the individual risk category as determined by the patient’s individual risk profile. Below is one example of a guide of acceptable ranges, however, there are many that clinicians may use in practice: