Review article: hyperlipidaemia and cardiovascular risk


Dr M. Bertolotti, Medicina III, Policlinico, Via Del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Hyperlipidaemia represents a determinant for the development of atherosclerosis and an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, particularly in the context of the insulin resistance syndrome. This is characterized by alterations in the profile of plasma lipoprotein including high triglyceride levels, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and the appearance of qualitatively modified, small-dense low-density lipoproteins. Many charts and algorithms have been developed to estimate the entity of coronary and cardiovascular risk as related to dyslipidaemia, on the basis of additional individual risk factors and conditions: most include age and gender, smoking status, hypertension and diabetes. They should preferably be utilized in consistent patient populations, in terms of geographical areas and general risk profile. Pharmacological treatment of dyslipidaemia, in particular with statin drugs, was shown to greatly improve cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A body of evidence also underlines the need for a multidisciplinary approach, integrating non-pharmacological lifestyle and diet interventions, as well as treatment of concomitant diseases (hypertension and diabetes).