The medical term for high blood cholesterol and triglycerides is lipid disorder. Such a disorder occurs when you have too many fatty substances in your blood. These substances include cholesterol and triglycerides.
A lipid disorder increases your risk for atherosclerosis, and thus for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), and other problems.
There are many types of cholesterol. The ones talked about most are:
There are several genetic disorders (passed down through families) that lead to abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. They include:
Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels may also be caused by:
See Coronary risk profile for information on when to be tested.
Tests to diagnose a lipid disorder may include:
Treatment depends on your age, health history, if you smoke, and other risk factors for heart disease, such as:
The recommended values for adults are different depending on the above risk factors, but in general:
There are steps that everyone can take to improve their cholesterol levels, and help prevent heart disease and heart attack. Here are the most important ones:
If lifestyle changes do not change your cholesterol levels enough, your doctor may recommend medication. There are several types of drugs available to help lower blood cholesterol levels, and they work in different ways. Some are better at lowering LDL cholesterol, some are good at lowering triglycerides, while others help raise HDL cholesterol.
The most commonly used and most effective drugs for treating high LDL cholesterol are called statins. You doctor will choose one of these: lovastatin (Mevacor), pravastatin (Pravachol), simvastatin (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), torvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor).
Other drugs that may be used include bile acid sequestering resins, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, fibrates, and nicotinic acid (niacin).
If you are diagnosed with high cholesterol, you will probably need to continue lifestyle changes and drug treatment throughout your life. Periodic monitoring of your cholesterol blood levels may be necessary. Reducing high cholesterol levels will slow the progression of atherosclerosis.
Possible complications of high cholesterol include:
Possible complications of high triglycerides include:
If you have high cholesterol or other risk factors for heart disease, make appointments as recommended by your doctor.
Cholesterol and triglyceride screening is important to identify and treat abnormal levels. The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force recommends that men age 35 or older and women age 45 or older should have their cholesterol levels checked.
To help prevent high cholesterol:
Lipid disorders; Hyperlipoproteinemia; Hyperlipidemia; Dyslipidemia; Hypercholesterolemia