Almost 29 million adults in the United States have hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol. The good news is that high cholesterol numbers are coming down, dropping from more than 18% of the US population in 2000 to 11% in 2014, thanks to the efforts of cardiovascular specialists like those at St. Louis Heart and Vascular. The team works with their patients at their six locations in St. Louis, Des Peres, St. Charles, and Bridgeton, Missouri, and Granite City, Illinois, to successfully lower their blood lipid numbers and their heart health risks. To get comprehensive treatment for your hyperlipidemia, call one of the offices today.

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Hyperlipidemia Q&A

What is hyperlipidemia?

Hyperlipidemia, or high cholesterol, means that you have too many lipids (fats) in your blood, which can build up and narrow your arteries. To determine your cholesterol counts, your doctor takes your blood and measures it for total cholesterol and triglycerides. The cholesterol is further broken down into two main kinds, which you may have heard called “good” and “bad.”

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL)

LDL particles are responsible for transporting your cholesterol in your blood. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol since it’s responsible for cholesterol buildup on the walls of your arteries.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL)

HDL particles pick up excess cholesterol in your blood and deliver it to your liver for processing and removal. Your HDL is known as “good” cholesterol since its primary job is clearing out the extra cholesterol in your body.

What constitutes high cholesterol?

When your doctor runs a cholesterol test on your blood, they get counts for your total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, in addition to some other values your cardiologist can explain. Here’s how the numbers break out, with levels measured in milligrams per deciliter.

Healthy blood lipid levels for adults age 20 and older:

  • Total cholesterol: 125-200
  • LDL: less than 100
  • HDL: men 40 or higher; women 50 or higher
  • Triglycerides: less than 150

For all adults, any total cholesterol over 200 is undesirable and over 240 constitutes high cholesterol. Depending on your medical history and any genetic components, your cardiologist may give you slightly different goals for your blood lipids.