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An Awareness initiative by

Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol

Dr. R.B. Pandit

Understanding Cholesterol & Lipid Disorders

Blood Lipids
Blood Lipid' is the term used for all the fatty
substances found in the blood, including
cholesterol and triglycerides. Lipids are
important in the functioning of the body.

Both cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood

are called lipids. When blood lipid levels are
high, this is called dyslipidemia.

What are Triglycerides

Fats and oils are made up of glycerol and fatty acids. In
fact a molecule of fat or oil has 3 fatty acids and a
molecule of glycerol. This is called a triglyceride. Fats &
oils are composed of many triglycerides or fat molecules.
Having high triglyceride levels increases your risk of
heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Making healthy
lifestyle choices can go a long way toward controlling
your triglyceride levels.

What is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a dense, fatty substance found in every cell of your body. It is a fat-like
substance present in foods. It is different in structure from tri glycerides i.e, fats & oils.
Animal foods like milk, egg, organ meats, ghee, butter, cream are all rich sources of
cholesterol. Plant foods like vegetale oils ( musturd oil,
goundnut oils, soya oil), nuts, oil seeds do not contain

Cholesterol plays many roles in the body-

1) It is structural component of membranes of
body cells
2) The breakdown of cholesterol by the liver
produces bile salts. Bile salts are important
for the digestion and absorption of fats and
some vitamins.
3) Cholesterol is also necessary for the
synthesis of many hormones in the body.

However, extra cholesterol over and above the body needs can be harmful.

Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol
Cholesterol and triglycerides are important fats (lipids) in the blood. Cholesterol is an essential
component of cell membranes, brain and nerve cells, and bile, which helps the body absorb fats and
fat-soluble vitamins. The body uses cholesterol to make vitamin D and various hormones, such as
estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. The body can produce all the cholesterol that it needs, but it
also obtains cholesterol from food. Triglycerides, which are contained in fat cells, can be broken
down, then used to provide energy for the body's metabolic processes, including growth.
Triglycerides are produced in the intestine and liver from smaller fats called fatty acids. Some types
of fatty acids are made by the body, but others must be obtained from food

Cholesterol cannot directly dissolve in blood. They need carriers. Therefore, the liver packs the
cholesterol produced with proteins and other compounds. The resultant combination, called a
lipoprotein, is released into the blood stream. The content of fat (lipos) as against the content of the
protein determines the density of these lipoproteins. The higher the fat, the lower the density and the
lower the density, higher the resultant risk.

Thus, fats, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, cannot circulate freely in the blood, because blood
is mostly water. To be able to circulate in blood, cholesterol and triglycerides are packaged with
proteins and other substances to form particles called lipoproteins.

2 Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol

There are different types of lipoproteins. Each type has a different purpose and is
broken down and excreted in a slightly different way. Lipoproteins include
chylomicrons, very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and
high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Cholesterol transported by LDL is called LDL
cholesterol, and cholesterol transported by HDL is called HDL cholesterol.

The body can regulate lipoprotein levels (and therefore lipid levels) by increasing or
decreasing the production rate of lipoproteins. The body can also regulate how quickly
lipoproteins enter and are removed from the bloodstream.

Lipid levels may become abnormal because of changes that occur with aging, various
disorders (including inherited ones), use of certain drugs, or lifestyle (such as
consuming a diet high in saturated fat, being physically inactive, or being overweight).

Abnormal levels of lipids (especially cholesterol) can lead to long-term problems, such
as atherosclerosis. Generally, a high total cholesterol level (which includes LDL, HDL,
and VLDL cholesterol), particularly a high level of LDL (the 'bad') cholesterol, increases
the risk of atherosclerosis and thus the risk of heart attack or stroke. However, not all
types of cholesterol increase this risk. A high level of HDL (the 'good') cholesterol may
decrease risk, and conversely, a low level of HDL cholesterol may increase risk.

The effect of triglyceride levels on the risk of heart attack is less clear-cut. But very
high levels of triglycerides (higher than 500 milligrams per deciliter of blood, or mg/dL)
can increase the risk of pancreatitis. For people older than 20, levels of total
cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol after fasting should
be measured regularly. Collectively, these measurements are called the fasting lipid

Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol
High Cholesterol
High cholesterol — sometimes known as hypercholesterolemia — is painless and
doesn't cause any symptoms.

High cholesterol is increasingly common with age and can lead to strokes, heart
attacks, and other health problems. High cholesterol is a condition that occurs when
levels of cholesterol in your blood are elevated enough to cause health problems such
as heart disease. Heart disease is one of the leading cause of deaths.

High cholesterol becomes more common as people age. Decade by decade, your
cholesterol can edge upward. Lifestyle Changes, eating healthy and exercise
regularly go a long way in managing cholesterol.

4 Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol
Lipid disorder
Lipid disorder is when you have high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
cholesterol, fats called triglycerides, or both. If you have high levels of these
substances, you are at increased risk for developing heart disease. To check if there is
any lipid disorder - your doctor suggests a blood test called a lipid prole. This test
measures your total cholesterol (both LDL and HDL) and triglycerides.

Reasons for Lipid disorder

Foods high in certain types of fats, certain medical conditions and other factors can
cause high blood cholesterol and high triglycerides.

Two types of fat are known to increase cholesterol levels - Saturated fat and Trans fats.
Saturated fats can increase your LDL levels. Some plant-based foods, such as palm oil
and coconut oil, contain saturated fats. However, saturated fat is mostly found in
animal-based food products like – cheese, milk, butter, steak etc.
Trans fats, or trans-fatty acids, are worse than saturated fats because they can raise
your LDL levels and lower your HDL levels. Some trans fats are found naturally in animal
products. Others are found in processed foods that have undergone a process called
hydrogenation like some kinds of margarine and potato chips etc.

Certain medical conditions can affect your cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol
levels can be caused by medical conditions like – diabetes, hypothyroidism, metabolic
syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), kidney disease etc.

Other causes of high cholesterol levels include lack of exercise, smoking, genetics,
certain medications etc. Exercise is very important as not getting enough exercise can
increase your LDL levels. Not only that, exercise has been shown to boost your healthy
HDL levels.

Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol
Why Should You Go For A Lipid Prole Test?

Diseases which once used to affect older population are increasingly being witnessed in the
younger population. Earlier, heart disease or heart attacks were seen in elderly people
beyond certain age and it was very rare in the young & middle age group. Today, its very
common to have a heart disease or a heart attack even in early ages, as early as mid-late
twenties. Cases of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is increasing. The reasons are our
sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, lack of exercise etc. About 70% of the urban Indians are
at the risk of heart disease and most of them could be averted if diagnosed well in time. Lipid
prole is a popular and effective test for cardiac risk assessment.

Who Should Go For A Lipid Prole Test?

A People who are overweight or obese.

A People who are regular alcohol consumers.

A People with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol.

A People who lead an inactive lifestyle.

A People who are smokers.

A People who suffer from disease like - PCOD, kidney disease,

diabetes, high blood pressure or hypothyroid.

Have you checked yours?

Get your checked before complications strike.

6 Understanding Lipid
disorders & Cholesterol
Building Wellthier Community


Disclaimer : The content given here is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be
construed as medical advice. Kindly use the content only in consultation with a certied medical or
healthcare professional.