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Lipids are important fats found in the bloodstream. Among the most common and impactful types of lipids are triglycerides and cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins). Each of these play vital roles in the function of the human body:
Triglycerides: These are located within fat cells where they can be converted into energy for use in metabolic processes.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a component of bile and cell membranes that helps the body absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as make different types of hormones and vitamin D. It comes in two forms: LDL and HDL. While each is important, an imbalance of too much LDL and too little HDL can lead to atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque in the arteries.
When a problem occurs with cholesterol or triglycerides (such as too much LDL), it is known as a lipid disorder. There are several different types of these disorders, and they are categorized based on their characteristics. Among the more common forms of lipid disorders are:
Lipid disorders can develop as the result of genetics, lifestyle factors, or a combination of both. Lifestyle factors which commonly contribute include being largely sedentary in day-to-day life and eating foods high in saturated or trans fats and cholesterol.
Furthermore, genetics and poor lifestyle factors can also contribute to other health conditions known to negatively impact lipids. When a lipid disorder is the result of a separate medical problem, it is known as a “secondary lipid disorder.” These conditions include:
Untreated lipid disorders are dangerous for the heart, as they can lead to narrowing of the arteries through the gradual buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis) and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. While supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and positive lifestyle changes may be enough to help control or reverse lipid disorders in some, many will require medication to treat their disease. Drugs commonly prescribed include:
CIS physicians frequently treat lipid disorders and understand precisely how these conditions can negatively impact cardiovascular health. To begin treatment with one of our cardiologists, simply click the button below.