High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)
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High Cholesterol, Hyperlipidemia

High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)

Hyperlipidemia is an excess of lipids (fats, cholesterol and triglycerides) in your blood. Hyperlipidemia is the most common form of dyslipidemia.

Dyslipidemia is the medical term for an imbalance of cholesterol in the bloodstream, and is a major risk factor in developing cardiovascular disease.[1]  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canada, where it accounts for one third of all deaths.[2]

Types of Cholesterol

There are several types of cholesterol in your body—HDL is commonly called “good” cholesterol, and is vital to a person’s health.[3]  LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, can accumulate on the walls of arteries, increasing the risk of cardiovascular events like heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), angina (chest pain), and stroke. 

A person’s lifestyle can affect their cholesterol levels—obesity, inactivity and poor diet increase the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream,[4] and smoking can lower beneficial HDL levels.[5] 

There are certain diseases that cause an increased risk of hyperlipidemia, such as diabetes. 

Treatment for Hyperlipidemia

Hyperlipidemia is usually chronic but controlled by statin medication. If untreated, those with hyperlipidemia are more likely to suffer atherosclerosis (a hardening of the arteries). This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events.


[1]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19849661

[2]http://www.ccs.ca/download/consensus_conference/consensus_conference_archives/2009_Dyslipidemia-Guidelines.pdf

[3]http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/Good-vs-Bad-Cholesterol_UCM_305561_Article.jsp

[4]http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/causes.html

[5]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001440/

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