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What is Xanthelasma?

Introduction

Xanthelasma (called by specialists xanthelasma palpebrarum ) is a particular type of Xanthoma, a yellowish deposit of fat underneath the skin, usually on the eyelids and/or around them. Therefore Xanthelasma can be referred to as a Xanthoma, but not vice-versa. The process in the formation of Xanthelasmas and Xanthomas are the same but we refer to Xanthelasmas only once the Xanthomas develop around the eyes or on the eyelids. Xanthelasmas are composed of xanthoma cells which are foamy formations with intracellular fat deposits primarily located within the upper reticular dermis and epidermis. Put more simply, Xanthelasmas are collections of certain types of fat, mostly cholesterol and triglycerides derived from food.

These lesions appear in those individuals whose body is unable to efficiently break down fats into usable energy. Sometimes diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver problems, and most prominently genetics can all contribute to the growth of Xanthelasma. Recently the role of acetylated LDL and macrophages with their scavenger receptors has been observed in the probable causation of Xanthelasma Palpebrarum. Since Xanthelasmas are fat formations, they have little nervous terminations therefore they are not painful. The incidence of xanthelasma in the general population has been reported between 0.3% and 1.5%. The age of onset ranges from 15 to 73 years with a peak incidence in the 4th and 5th decades.

Throughout our experience in treating this condition, Xanthelasma appear to be lesions predominantly observed on female adults. Although this higher reported incidence has been corroborated by other independent studies this maybe due to the fact that women are more self-conscious of cosmetic conditions than men.

Due to the type of customers we have served, can now say Xanthelasma are equally common in Asians, Caucasians and people from any ethnic origin. Many still believe that the formation of Xanthelasma are directly related to the Cholesterol levels of the individual contributing to the development of the condition. However a direct correlation between high lipids levels and the formation of Xanthelasma has not been proven. It has been found that many of those developing Xanthelasma have normal Cholesterol blood levels.

It seems instead that certain individuals are more likely than other to develop Xanthelasmas mainly due to hereditary factors. This is confirmed by studies conducted on a large number of people who developed the condition. It has been found that the the high cholesterol incidence level of the Xanthelasma sufferers is close to those of the normal population not developing Xanthelasma. Therefore unless proven otherwise it is possible that high cholesterol levels and the development of Xanthelasma may not be directly related.

On the contrary, there seems to be a hereditary component which contributes to the development of the condition, hence should a close relative be affected or was affected by the condition you will be more likely to develop Xanthelasma despite your Cholesterol levels. Only when there is no family history of Xanthelasma, the condition could be related to high cholesterol levels.

The Xanthelasma condition is usually assessed by family doctors and dermatologists, however given that there is little research done on Xanthelasma, the advice offered may not be the in the best interests of the patient. In fact some practitioners have advised their patients that it is too risky to have their Xanthelasma treated because they could end up being scarred in the process. This advice had been offered because the there is no inherent health risks in keeping the Xanthelasma (benign growths) and little information is available on how to have Xanthelasma properly removed. However is has been proven that when removed with the latest treatments the risks of scarring are remote.

For a long time Xanthelasma have been referred to as an indicator of potential high risks of cardio-vascular disease (stokes and heart attacks). However, to this day, no scientific study has been carried out to corroborate the link between Xanthalasma formation and cardio-vascular diseases. Nevertheless, many still say that those affected by Xanthelesma are more likely to die younger due to heart attacks or strokes.

Initially, this alleged higher mortality of those affected by Xanthelasma was believed to be due to the high cholesterol levels of those affected by Xanthelasma. After all, the common belief was that high cholesterol levels caused the Xanthelasma formation in the first place. However, no evidence of this has been found, especially given that the cholesterol levels of many affected are normal. A study was carried out showing an association between Xanthelasma formation and cardiovascular disease. In this study it is shown how similar the Xanthelasmas and Xanthomas development process is to the formation of plaques within the arteries (atheromatous disease). Lately a study has associated the formation of Xanthelasmas with a 17% greater risk of mortality due to cardio-vascular diseases when compared with those without Xanthelasma.

Xanthelasma appear on both eyes symmetrically in the vast majority of the cases. It has not been reported a case of Xanthelasma on one eye only without the other eye being affected. However it has been reported of people who developed Xanthoma without ever developing Xanthelasma and vice versa.

Although Xanthelasma are skin lesions, fortunately usually they are relatively  superficial and they do not grow too deeply into the dermis. Xanthelasma usually reside between the superficial part of the dermis and the epidermis, in the same fashion as common warts. Therefore the successful treatment and removal without leaving no scarring is feasible and not uncommon.

Xanthelasma And Diabetes

Scientific researches and findings have linked Xanthelasma and diabetes. Xanthelasma is majorly a collection of cholesterol around the eyelid, and it can lead to various health complications, including diabetes and ischemic heart diseases.

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Xanthelasma And heart disease

A research discovered a connection between heart disease and Xanthelasma. If so, it may help to stop heart attacks. This article will provide you with more information about this research and its outcomes.

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Xanthelasma and high cholesterol

What is the link between xanthoma (Xanthelasma) and cholesterol? The deposits of fat within the eyelids may indicate high cholesterol levels.

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