Definition

An abnormally high concentration of lipids or fats in the blood.

Also Known As

  • High Cholesterol

Types

Hyperlipidemia can be primary (an abnormal expression of the types of lipids in the blood, usually due to a genetic factor) or secondary (acquired due to another disease or medication).

Causes

Cholesterol is carried through your blood attached to proteins (the combination is called a lipoprotein):

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, transports cholesterol particles throughout your body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL, or “good” cholesterol, picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.

Triglycerides, are a type of fat in the blood (a high triglyceride level can also increase your risk of heart disease).

Statistics

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Chronic diseases (diabetes, chronic kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome)
  • Diabetes
  • Inactivity
  • Medications (birth control pills, diuretics, some anti-depressants)
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking

Prevention

The best way to prevent high cholesterol is to eat a heart healthy diet.

  • Eat a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; choose healthy fats, and eat more Omega-3s; decrease trans fats
  • Physical activity (aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week)
  • Quit smoking

Vaccinations

People with heart disease are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

Heart disease can make it harder to fight off certain diseases, make it more likely complications to those diseases will follow, or increase the risk of a heart attack. The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Additionally, the CDC recommends the following vaccines for adults suffering from heart disease (talk to your doctor about which vaccines are right for you):

COVID-19 and High Cholesterol

Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Resources