What Is Xanthelasma?

Xanthelasma is a condition of the appearance of yellow plaques such as fat clots above or below the eyelids, precisely in the corner of the eye or canthus that can develop over time. These skin disease are among the most common, especially in middle-aged women to late age. But it is possible to occur in men of all ages.

The growing xanthelasma can be shaped like a soft, calcareous, or semi-solid lump, with a symmetrical position on the eyelid. There are 4 points of the eyelid where the blob usually appears, ie above and below the inner eye angle, in the right and left eyes. The lower eyelid often becomes an area that is often overgrown with the lumps.

Although xanthelasma is rare and harmless, it can be a symptom of a serious illness, such as heart disease or stroke . In addition, xanthelasma can not go away by itself and require medical help for its treatment.

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Cause of Xanthelasma
Xanthelasma is caused by enzyme abnormalities that accumulate in skin cells, especially around the eye area, and is often associated with hyperlipidemia (high blood fat levels). In this condition, "bad" cholesterol (LDL) in the blood is pushed out onto the skin surface and forms a yellow clump like fat or lipid.

Some other factors that can increase a person's risk of experiencing xanthelasma are:
  • Low levels of "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood.
  • Has a history of cholesterol or hypercholesterolaemia .
  • Has primary biliary cirrhosis disease or damage to the liver bile ducts.
  • Diabetes .
  • High blood pressure.
In addition, people with obesity and smokers are also at high risk of this disease, because these two factors can increase fat accumulation in the body and trigger heart attacks.

Symptoms of Xanthelasma
Briefly, the symptoms of xanthelasma are only characterized by the appearance of yellowish lipid or fat that continues to grow around the eyelids.

In certain cases, the symptoms of xanthelasma have similarities with other skin diseases. It is recommended for those who experience the symptoms to see a doctor to be diagnosed and treated appropriately.

Xanthelasma Diagnosis
Initially, the doctor will examine the lumps or bumps on the patient's eyelids, ranging from color and size to find out if there is an indication of xanthelasma disease. Given these conditions can be triggered by another condition, further tests such as blood pressure checks, laboratory tests, and heart health tests, are likely to be performed.

Xanthelasma Treatment
Although xanthelasma is not harmful, it is advisable to treat it to keep the lipid from growing and disturbing vision. Treatment can be done through lifestyle changes (including diet) or through surgery.
Changing Patterns of Life
This is generally done to lower cholesterol levels in the blood and suppress the growth of lipids. In addition, some potential diseases such as heart attack or stroke can also be prevented in this way. 
Surgical Actions
In cases where the patient is disturbed by growing fat clots, surgical action can be performed to lift the coating from around the eyelid. The amount of incision required will be adjusted to the growing lipid conditions.
In addition to surgery, other ways that can be done to remove the clot between them is through electrodessication and cryotherapy techniques . Both of these techniques aim to kill the cells that cause xanthelasma to occur. Electrodessication is done with the help of electric waves, whereas cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures. Possible side effects of both methods are the appearance of scarring and hypopigmentation. Neither can it be done if xanthelasma has expanded into reaching the muscles.

In addition to the above methods, there is also a technique called an argon laser ablation using carbon dioxide gas. In this technique, the doctor will use laser light to destroy the fat gradually. Patients will be given a local anesthetic injection before the action is taken.

To minimize side effects such as scarring, cauterization techniques with chemical liquids can be done. In this technique, the doctor will apply substances such as chlorinated acetic acid, monocloroacetic acid, dichlororoetic acid, or trichloroacetic acid to turn off tissue in xanthelasma clots.

Although surgical procedures are generally recommended for treating xanthelasma, it should be remembered that this procedure can not be separated from potential complications, such as changes in eyelid structure and impaired eyelash growth after surgery, or skin discoloration and hypopigmentation after the use of chemical liquids, such as trichloroacetic acid.

Prevention Xanthelasma
Given the main trigger of xanthelasma is high cholesterol, then the main prevention that needs to be done is to maintain the diet and consume drugs prescribed by doctors on a regular basis so that cholesterol levels are decreased and not accumulate. It can also help lower the risk of other diseases, such as heart disease or stroke.

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