Found Yellow Lumps Around Your Eyes?
As we age, we imagine that our faces will change. Wrinkles will appear, maybe age spots will discolor our faces, and our eyelids will droop as we lose elasticity in our skin. However, there is another growth that can cause our eyelids to change. Xanthelasma are fleshy or yellow colored lumps that grow on the face near the eye.
Causes of Cholesterol Lumps on the Eyes
The cause of cholesterol lumps on the eyes are not one hundred percent. However, they are believed to be associated with blood lipid levels that are either too high or too low. Lipids are fats or fat-like substances in our blood, like natural oils. When we need energy, our body can use those lipids to raise our blood sugar. However, an excess or scarcity of fatty acids have negative health consequences. The technical name for this abnormality is dyslipidemia.
When there is dyslipidemia, xanthelasma form. Fibroproliferative connective tissue deposits inside the corner of the eye, beside the eye, inside the eye socket, beneath the eye, or on the face near the eye. Cholesterol is most known for its accumulation in arteries. However, it also causes localized accumulation of lipid deposits resulting in these yellowish papules and plaques. Think of these clumps as cautionary indications that cholesterol is beginning to build up in your veins.
Are Xanthelasma Dangerous to Your Health?
These lesions themselves are harmless and non-cancerous. They are normally not painful or itchy.
While the diagnosis of dyslipidemia is usually associated with aging, xanthelasma affects people 15 to 73 years of age. Even with that age range, typical peaks of prevalence are seen in the 40s and 50s. If a presentation occurs before the age of 40, it’s even more important to seek medical attention as there might be genetic issues of lipoprotein metabolism, or dyslipoproteinemias, at play.
There are alternative sources for this plaque outside of the high cholesterol. Certain types of cancer, diabetes, primary biliary cholangitis and inherited disorders such as familial hypercholesterolemia all can cause xanthoma. Studies in the Harvard Heart Letter indicate that they seem to signal an increased risk of heart disease.
It is best to have lesions checked by your doctor or a dermatologist.
Is the Lump Under Your Eye Itchy?
If you have an itchy lump under your eye, don’t just assume that it is a cholesterol-induced xanthelasma. While it is not abnormal to have some symptoms of eye irritation, there are other warning signs that you should not ignore. If you have a swollen eyelid that is red, hot, painful, tender or blistered, seek medical attention immediately.
Lifestyle Factors of Xanthelasma
While aesthetically, these bumps may have an effect on your mental health, they are really a great visual symptom of something much bigger and scarier.
The real treatment of this plaque addresses the cause, not the symptoms of the larger problem of cholesterol imbalance.
How Do You Address the Cause?
If you take the opportunity to change your lifestyle, you will be much better off. Here are some tips to tip the scales:
- Lose weight: A reduction in weight will balance your metabolism and decrease the triglycerides in your blood.
- Eat well: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and healthy fats will increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in your body.
- Exercise: Engaging in exercise that elevates your heart rate for a sustained period of 20–30 minutes the majority of the week will benefit your dyslipidemia,
- Less alcohol: Problem drinking over a sustained period of time can increase cholesterol.
- Less tobacco: Stopping smoking has immediate and life-long benefits on your cholesterol levels.
- Medicine that balances blood lipid levels like Niacin, Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Mevacor, or Zetia can be a method of prevention.
If you want to use technology to help you track your lifestyle changes, check out these applications: Cholesterol Food Reference, MyFitnessPal, MyNetDiary, Foodvisor, Fooducate, Smart Blood Pressure, Vida Health, HowUdish, Nutrients, and ShopWell.
Treatment for Cholesterol Lumps on the Eyes
These harmless concentrations normally stay the same or grow together. Sorry to tell you but they don’t regress on their own.
The good news is that their presence don’t affect the functionality of the eyeball or surrounding area. The effect they have is aesthetic. Removal is not medically necessary, so any procedure would be cosmetic.
Surgical Options Available
- Surgical excision: high recurrence rate
- Laser Ablation: less invasive; may cause pigmentation
- Chemical cauterization: chlorinated acetic acids dissolve lipids; minimal scarring
- Electrodesiccation: scraping and burning away unwanted growth
- Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy: same treatment as with warts
Remember that if you choose to surgically remove a growth, the likelihood of reappearance post-surgery is high, especially if the risk factors remain the same.
There are also options that address the underlying issues of cholesterol imbalance. Drugs like Probucol or Alirocumab affect lipid production.
Topical remedies include a broad-spectrum antitumor antibiotic, Pingyangmycin.
Medications That May Make It Worse
There are some medications that may increase your risk of materializing cholesterol deposits around your eye. These include beta-adrenergic blocking agents, birth control pills, estrogen-containing medications, corticosteroids, retinoids, thiazide diuretics, protease inhibitors,performance-enhancing drugs, and/or antiepileptic drugs.
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