General or Other | Cardiology | Dyslipidemia (Disease)


Lipids (fats), together with proteins and carbohydrates, are the main components of living cells. Cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids that are stored in the body and serve as a source of energy in addition to their role in cell structure. When lipid levels in the bloodstream are too high or low, this condition is called dyslipidemia.

Causes and Risk factors

Dyslipidemia means having high cholesterol. Elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of having narrowed arteries. The blockage is caused by a build of plaque and fat deposits (atherosclerosis). The diseases caused by this narrowing are dependent on the arteries being blocked but include: heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. Having elevated cholesterol has also been shown to lead to high blood pressure and diabetes. There are two types of cholesterol that make up the total level of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. LDL is considered bad cholesterol and HDL is good cholesterol.

While many of its possible causes are nonendocrine, hyperlipidemia can also be related to a hormonal disease such as diabetes, hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormone), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome, and Cushing syndrome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To know a patients true risk of disease the provider must send a blood test that measures both LDL and HDL. In general the LDL should be less than 130 mg/dL and anything greater than 160 mg/dL is considered too high. A HDL level greater than 60 mg/dL is best. A patients cholesterol level is a combination of what they inherit from their parents and what they eat. Improving ones diet and/or medications can generally reduce the levels.