Disorders In Lipid (Fat) Metabolism
In hereditary disorders of lipid metabolism some patients suffer from an increase in the amount of lipids in the body fluids and tissues, and others from a decrease. Perhaps the most notable disease in this group is essential hyper-cholesteremia (xanthomatosis). Here the amount of cholesterol is increased more than the other lipids that normally occur in the body, the amount in the blood serum being two or three times normal. Swellings produced by accumulations of cholesterol-laden cells (foam cells) occur in the skin (xanthomas); in the subcutaneous areas at pressure points such as knees, elbows, and buttocks; in the heart; and in certain tendons. Conditions such as arteriosclerosis and coronary artery disease are frequent.
These cases are benefited by measures which tend to lower the cholesterol in the blood serum. Of first importance is a diet which excludes saturated fatty acids such as those in meat, dairy products, eggs, and common cooking fats. In their stead the patient may use vegetables and unsaturated fats such as corn oil. In extreme cases the physician may prescribe a cholesterol-lowering drug.