Hypercholesterolemia (literally: high blood cholesterol) is the presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood. It is not a disease but a metabolic derangement that can be secondary to many diseases and can contribute to many forms of disease, most notably cardiovascular disease.
Signs and Symptoms:
Elevated cholesterol does not lead to specific symptoms unless it has been longstanding. Some types of hypercholesterolemia lead to specific physical findings: xanthoma (deposition of cholesterol in patches on the skin or in tendons), xanthelasma palpabrum (yellowish patches around the eyelids) and arcus senilis (white discoloration of the peripheral cornea).
Longstanding elevated hypercholesterolemia leads to accelerated atherosclerosis; this can express itself in a number of cardiovascular diseases: coronary artery disease (angina pectoris, heart attacks), stroke and short stroke-like episodes and peripheral vascular disease.
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