Patients with Turner Syndrome tend to have much higher levels of cholesterol and lipids. These metabolic abnormalities are referred to as hyperlipidemia, and hypercholesterolemia, which can occur in 37-50% of women with TS. These conditions can lead to atherosclerosis, or hypertensive symptoms that can cause an elevated risk of heart attacks or strokes in TS patients. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which lipids, or fat cells, accumulate in the blood stream. When it hardens, it creates a strong plaque that can constrict the blood vessels, causing clots and insufficient blood flow. It’s important to have periodic blood work done to ensure that lipid concentration in the blood is not too high. Clinical Guidelines recommend that you have your blood checked if you have at least one personal risk factor that makes you susceptible to cardiovascular disease.
Lipids are essentially fat molecules that flow through the blood stream. Cholesterol is a combination of lipids and protein that contributes to the total lipid concentration. Certain types of cholesterol can be referred to as lipoprotein.
How Can I Identify High Levels of Lipids and Cholesterol?
A full fasting lipid blood test can be conducted by a healthcare provider to identify the lipid body profile of a patient. If a high concentration of lipids is present, the first step is to identify the source. Studies show that although a correlation cannot be identified between body mass index (average weight based on height) and cardiovascular risks factors (increased concentration of lipids and cholesterol), there are potential relationships between the heightened estrogen levels caused by TS and an increased concentration of lipids (Hampton & Hozjan 149, 176, 370, 375, 376.)
Lipids and cholesterol can easily be reduced by simply changing eating habits, exercising, avoidance of smoking, and frequent management of hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Lifestyle choices will make a big difference. Alternatively, if the condition is more serious or considered chronic, medications and hormonal growth therapy are also options. If you are concerned that your cholesterol or lipid levels may be high, consult your healthcare provider and find out what method of treatment is best for you.