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What are lipid disorders?

Lipid disorders are a group of conditions characterized by abnormal levels of fatty substances in the blood called lipoproteins and triglycerides. Also called "dyslipidemias," common lipid disorders include:
  • too high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) known as the "lousy" or "bad" cholesterol because it contributes to the formation of plaque in your arteries, raising your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • too low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) known as the "healthy" or "good" cholesterol because it helps to sweep cholesterol out of the blood vessels, reducing plaque build-up and lowering heart attack or stroke risk.
  • too high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in your blood that can also raise heart attack and stroke risk.
In some people lipid disorders are inherited. Other people may develop them because they have one or more of the following risk factors for lipid disorders.
  • They have diabetes.
  • They smoke.
  • They are overweight or obese.
  • They have high blood pressure.
  • They have a family history of cardiovascular disease or a personal history of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).
Having blood tests to check your cholesterol levels according to your doctor's recommendations can help detect a lipid disorder if you develop one. Lipid disorders can be treated with lifestyle changes and/or the use of cholesterol-lowering medicines.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.