(Cholesterol, High; Hypercholesterolemia)
You have this condition if there are high levels of cholesterol in the blood. There are three parts of cholesterol:
- Low density lipoproteins (LDL)—known as bad cholesterol. It causes build up of cholesterol and other fats in the body. High LDL levels can cause artery and heart disease.
- High density lipoproteins (HDL)—known as good cholesterol. It can remove cholesterol and other fats from the body. High levels of HDL can protect against heart disease.
- Triglycerides—a common form of fat in the body.
Causes of high cholesterol include:
These factors increase your chance of high cholesterol:
The condition itself will rarely cause any symptoms. If not treated, it often leads to atherosclerosis]]> . This is a dangerous hardening of the arteries. It can end up blocking blood flow through arteries. In severe cases, this may result in:
If you have an inherited form of high cholesterol, cholesterol deposits in the:
- Under the eyes
- Around the cornea
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. These tests]]> are used to measure the cholesterol levels in your blood:
- Total cholesterol
- HDL cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol
Treatment may include:
- Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet]]> . Eat ]]>high-fiber]]> food.
- Begin a safe ]]>exercise program]]> with the advice of your doctor.
- If you smoke, ]]>quit]]> .
- If you are overweight, ]]>lose weight]]> .
- Drink alcohol in moderation. This means two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women.
If diet and exercise do not work, you may need medication. Examples include:
- ]]>Cholestyramine]]> (Questran)
- ]]>Colestipol]]> (Colestid)
- ]]>Niacin]]> (Niacor)
- ]]>Ezetimibe]]> (Zetia)
]]>Statins]]> are often prescribed for high cholesterol. They have been shown to reduce mortality (death) and ]]>heart attacks]]> . Ezetimibe has reduced plaque in arteries. However, it has not been shown to reduce mortality.
Some may have a high risk for ]]>coronary artery disease]]> . In this case, combination therapy may be needed to lower LDL.
To help reduce your chance of getting high cholesterol, follow the lifestyle changes]]> above. Work with your doctor to monitor and control your cholesterol levels.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Goroll AH, Mulley AG. Primary Care Medicine . 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.
Heart disease and stroke statistics update. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1928 . Updated 2008. Accessed July 7, 2008.
How can I lower high cholesterol? American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org . Published October 2007. Accessed July 7, 2008.
Lipid-lowering pharmacotherapy overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 2008. Accessed September 23, 2008.
Third report of the expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). National Cholesterol Education Program website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/index.htm . Accessed December 17, 2007.
What is cholesterol? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbc/HBC_WhatIs.html . Updated February 2006. Accessed July 7, 2008.
Last reviewed January 2009 by ]]>Igor Puzanov, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.