The medical term for high blood cholesterol and triglycerides is lipid disorder. Such a disorder occurs when you have too many fatty substances in your blood. These substances include cholesterol and triglycerides.
A lipid disorder increases your risk for atherosclerosis, and thus for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure (hypertension), and other problems.
There are many types of cholesterol. The ones talked about most are:
- Total cholesterol - all the cholesterols combined
- HDL cholesterol - often called "good" cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol - often called "bad" cholesterol
There are several genetic disorders (passed down through families) that lead to abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. They include:
- Familial combined hyperlipidemia
- Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia
- Familial hypercholesterolemia
- Familial hypertriglyceridemia
Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels may also be caused by:
- Being overweight or obese. See: Metabolic syndrome
- Certain medications, including birth control pills, estrogen, corticosteroids, certain diuretics, beta blockers, and certain antidepressants
- Diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, and kidney disease
- Excessive alcohol use
- Fatty diets that are high in saturated fats (found mainly in red meat, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products) and trans fatty acids (found in commercial processed food products)
- Lack of exercise
- Smoking (which reducess HDL "good" cholesterol)
Lipid disorders are more common in men than in women.