While most patients aren’t familiar with the term ‘Lipid Disorder’, they recognize the words high cholesterol. Lipid disorders include high cholesterol, as well as abnormal levels of triglycerides.

Whether you call it a lipid disorder, hyperlipidemia, or hypercholesterolemia, this condition can increase your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and other problems. Fortunately, there are ways to get the situation under control. While some patients may have a genetic tendency towards lipid disorders, most cases can be attributed to lifestyle factors.

Other diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome, may cause lipid disorders. Pregnancy or an under-active thyroid, too, can lead to this condition. Patient who take medications for other diseases may find that the medication causes a rise in cholesterol levels.

The picture is complicated by the fact that there is ‘good’ cholesterol (called HDL) and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Smoking, for instance, doesn’t increase cholesterol levels but it does reduce your ‘good’ cholesterol.

At Cardiology Healthcare, we may suggest you take a blood test if we suspect that you have a lipid disorder. This will determine your levels of HDL and LDL. The doctor may also have you tested for blood sugar (glucose), to determine whether you have diabetes.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with a lipid disorder, there are things you can do to help yourself:

  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise 30 minutes or more each day
  • Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat
  • Lose weight if needed

If the condition is not treated, high cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries. This is when plaque builds up inside the walls of the arteries and interferes with blood flow, creating a risk of stroke and heart disease.

Generally, if you don’t have heart or vascular disease and are not at high risk for heart disease, the following guidelines apply:

LDL cholesterol:

  • Optimal if less than 100
  • Near optimal if 100-129
  • Borderline high if 130-159
  • High if 160-189
  • Very high if 190 or above

The goal for individuals with heart disease or blood vessel disease is LDL of less than 70. The goal for high-risk individuals (those with diabetes or other multiple risk factors for heart disease) is LDL of less than 100.

HDL cholesterol:

  • Low (considered a risk factor) if less than 40
  • Good (will help lower your risk of heart disease) if 60 or more


  • Normal less than 150
  • Borderline high 150-199
  • High 200-499
  • Very high 500-plus