Conditions InDepth: Lipid Disorders
Lipids are fatty substances in the blood, and include cholesterol and triglycerides. All lipids play important roles throughout the body, but abnormal levels in the blood can cause problems. High levels of lipids may be caused by one or a combination of:
- Diet that has excess calories, usually higher in carbohydrates and fat
- Sedentary lifestyle
|Plaque Due to Build-up of Lipids in an Artery|
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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.
- Obesity—especially with high amount of fat around the stomach
- Metabolic syndrome
- Genetic condition
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.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 05/01/2014