Lipid Therapy

         Basic Facts

  • The aim of lipid therapy is to decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering harmful cholesterol levels.
  • Physicians often recommend that patients make lifestyle changes and may prescribe medications.
  • Lipid-lowering medication is indicated for patients with the following: vascular disease, diabetes, LDL levels above 190, and/or a high risk of developing heart disease within the next 10 years (for those between the ages of 45-70).   
Lipid is the scientific term for fats in the blood, and the term is used to describe fatty acids, neutral fats, waxes, and steroids. The two main types of lipids that affect heart disease are fatty acids, which can combine to form fats called triglycerides, and cholesterol.

As people age, their coronary arteries may be affected by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty streaks and cholesterol-laden plaque in the walls of the arteries. Abnormal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood can accelerate atherosclerosis and increase a person's risk of developing heart disease. Coronary heart disease is diagnosed when the accumulation of plaque in a coronary artery grows large enough to obstruct blood flow to the heart muscle.

There are two major types of cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). Both LDL and HDL carry cholesterol but, because LDL deposits the cholesterol in the body's tissues where it can contribute to problems such as atherosclerosis, it is often called 'bad' cholesterol. HDL, which removes cholesterol from the body, is referred to as 'good' cholesterol. The amount of all the cholesterol carried by both HDL and LDL in the bloodstream is referred to as total cholesterol.

Abnormal levels of cholesterol or triglycerides are called lipid disorders. One of the most common lipid disorders is hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. 

Lipid Therapy FAQ