Munson Health
 
Conditions InDepth: Lipid Disorders

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by Wood D
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is used to build cells and hormones. Most of your cholesterol is made inside the body, but some comes from the foods we eat such as dairy products, meat, and fish.
There are two main types of cholesterol:
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—Often called the "good" cholesterol because it helps to protect against heart disease. HDL may carry other types of cholesterol away from arteries and to the liver. Higher levels of this cholesterol are ideal.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol—This is often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because it is more likely to stick to the walls of your blood vessels. High LDL cholesterol levels increases the risk of heart disease.
Abnormal cholesterol levels are sometimes caused by genetic conditions or medications that lead to low HDL or high LDL levels. However, cholesterol problems can also come from a combination of dietary choices and low levels of physical activity.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that your body can store away and use for energy when needed. They are made from unused or extra calories that we eat. Triglycerides move throughout the body in the blood. High levels of this fat in the blood can contribute to a plaque build up in blood vessels.
High triglycerides can be caused by a high calorie diet, especially one high in carbohydrates but is also often associated with other conditions such as:
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity—especially with high amount of fat around the stomach
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Genetic condition
What are the risk factors for lipid disorders?What are the symptoms of lipid disorders?How are lipid disorders diagnosed?What are the treatments for lipid disorders?Are there screening tests for lipid disorders?How can I reduce my risk of lipid disorders?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with lipid disorders?Where can I get more information about lipid disorders?
 

References


About cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About-Cholesterol%5FUCM%5F001220%5FArticle.jsp. Updated July 15, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2014.


American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association. 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013: early online. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/11/11/01.cir.0000437738.63853.7a.full.pdf. Accessed January 9, 2014.


Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 20, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2014.


Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 20, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2014.


What is cholesterol? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc. Updated September 19, 2012. Accessed January 9, 2014.

 

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