HIV and Hyperlipidemia
October 9, 2017
What Is Hyperlipidemia?
Hyperlipidemia is the medical term for high levels of fat in the blood. Fats in the blood (also called lipids) include cholesterol and triglycerides. The body makes cholesterol and triglycerides. The fats also come from some of the foods we eat.
The body needs cholesterol and triglycerides to function properly, but having too much can cause problems. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides increase the risk of heart disease, gall bladder disease, and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
What Are the Symptoms of Hyperlipidemia?
Usually hyperlipidemia has no symptoms. A blood test is used to measure levels of fat in the blood and to detect hyperlipidemia.
Testing for hyperlipidemia is recommended both before and after a person starts taking HIV medicines. If blood fat levels are normal, testing is recommended once a year. If blood fat levels are too high, more frequent testing is recommended.
What Are Risk Factors for Hyperlipidemia in People With HIV?
HIV infection and treatment with some HIV medicines can increase the risk of hyperlipidemia by raising blood fat levels.
The following are additional risk factors for hyperlipidemia:
Many of these risk factors for hyperlipidemia can be controlled by lifestyle choices. For example, maintaining a healthy weight is one way to reduce the risk of hyperlipidemia.
What Are Other Steps a Person Can Take to Prevent Hyperlipidemia?
Here are additional steps to take to reduce the risk of hyperlipidemia. People who already have hyperlipidemia can also follow these steps to lower their blood fat levels.
What Is the Treatment for Hyperlipidemia?
Lifestyle changes may not be enough to reduce blood fat levels.
In people with HIV, treatment for hyperlipidemia may include changing an HIV regimen to avoid taking HIV medicines that can increase blood fat levels.
There are also medicines that can help control blood fat levels. The most common medicines used to reduce cholesterol levels are called statins. Fibrates are a type of medicine used to lower triglycerides.
HIV medicines can interact with medicines that lower blood fat levels. If you have HIV and need medicine to control hyperlipidemia, your health care provider can recommend medicines that are safe to take with your HIV regimen.
How Can I Learn More About Hyperlipidemia?
This fact sheet is based on information from the following sources:
[Note from TheBody.com: This article was created by AIDSinfo, who last updated it on Oct. 9, 2017. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.