When my mum came down to KL to attend my cousin’s wedding last week, I noticed some yellowish bumps around her eyes.
“They appeared only recently, but it’s pretty usual for old people like me, right?”
"No, mum, let’s go check your blood cholesterol level!”
I did feel a little guilty. It’s been 2 months since I last visited mum and so I didn’t get to notice these skin bumps on her eyes.
But why a blood cholesterol test?
Xanthelasma is one of the common Xanthoma. These are skin bumps found around your eyes, and are usually symmetrical. Xanthelasma is benign, and usually appears on the skin of people in their 40s or 50s, with a ratio of 1:4 between men and women.
Xanthelasma lumps are neither painful nor itchy, and doesn’t affect eyesight. They feel like small lumps of fats when you touch them.
Why do Xanthelasma bumps appear?
“Since Xanthelasma bumps are benign, can we just ignore them?”
The main reason behind the formation of Xanthelasma bumps is the deposition of foamy cells from cholesterol on our skin’s dermis layer.
Medical research has found that 50% of patients with Xanthelasma have high blood lipid levels.
According to a study published in the English Medical Journal done in 2011 by the Danish Herlev Hospital, people with xanthelasma bumps have a 48% higher risk of heart attack, 38% higher risk of coronary artery disease, and a 14% higher fatality rate!
But don’t panic just yet. Remember when I said that only 50% of patients with Xanthelasma have high blood lipid levels?
What about the other 50%?
Their blood cholesterol levels weren’t off the charts, and the Xanthelasma bumps were actually a result of genetic and physical characteristics.
However, the rule of thumb of “early detection, early treatment” still applies. So if you notice your any skin bumps around your parents’ eyes, bring them for a medical check up as soon as possible.
I’ve also helped mum make an appointment for a check-up next week! If any underlying condition is detected, early treatment is always better.
How to get rid of Xanthelasma bumps
“So will these bumps disappear after I reduce my blood cholesterol level through diet changes or medications?”
Well I’m really sorry to say this, but no.
Once Xanthelasma bumps appear, they won’t disappear on their own, or fade away like how they faded in unannounced.
However, you can get rid of them through medical aesthetics technology today. There are two types of treatments, either surgical or via CO2 laser treatment.
CO2 segmented laser
Helps to flatten or eliminate xanthelasma bumps.
Since the concept of laser treatments is to “destroy and rebuild”, you may have scars or wounds after the treatment, which usually heal up in about a week.
Surgical incision directly removes the cholesterol deposit, but with a potential consequence of leaving a scar.
However, due to the high chances of recurring cholesterol deposits, it is not recommended to have a surgical incision at the same spot for more than once, as this can cause the skin around the surgical area to become thin.
CO2 Laser treatment is more widely used in getting rid of cholesterol deposits theses days. Mum also asked me this morning, if she could have one too!
Well of course, I had no problems helping her with this List of Medical Clinics with CO2 Laser Treatments here! Find a clinic, send an enquiry, and get a reply from the clinic within 3 working days!
Juliet’s Reminder: Healthy diet planning and regular exercise can help regulate and maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level. Also, do note that not all people who have high blood cholesterol levels will have cholesterol deposits on their skin. So even if your parents do not have cholesterol bumps or deposits, you should still arrange to have a medical check-up for them!