high cholesterol cardiovascular diseases
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High cholesterol is quickly becoming a term that most people have heard their doctors warn them about. That is because it puts you at a greater risk of heart disease, here’s how.

What is High Cholesterol or Dyslipidemia: 

High Cholesterol (also known as Hyperlipidemia) or dyslipidemia is defined as a metabolic abnormality that leads to a persistent increase in cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. Of the five types, Dyslipidemia and Hyperlipidemia have been found to elevate both – cholesterol and triglycerides.[1] 

A common cause of death around the world, high cholesterol is detected when one’s total cholesterol level is higher than 5.0 mmol/L or 190 mg/L.

How does it relate to heart disease

As per a study conducted in Geneva, one-third of ischemic heart disease in the world is caused due to hypercholesterolemia (a form of dyslipidemia). It is estimated that the condition will be responsible for 2.6 million deaths in the world [3]. Apart from that, the World Health Organisation estimates that the prevalence of cardiovascular disease will double by 2020,  ranking higher than even HIV/AIDS as a cause of death. [2]

Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) leads to a build-up of fatty deposits in one’s arteries, which over time narrow the blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis leads to heart disease, heart attack, peripheral artery disease or stroke. Low levels of HDL combined with high levels of triglycerides can also increase fat build-up in the arteries, putting one at a greater risk of heart disease and other complications. 

What are the causes of high cholesterol?

Some of the most common causes of high cholesterol is being overweight or obese, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome, metabolic syndrome, genetic predisposition or Cushing Syndrome.[9]

Tips to fix the situation 

  1. Regular exercise: walking, jogging, cycling or any other form of exercise can help keep one’s cholesterol levels in check.
  2. Eating healthy: Eating a balanced diet is an integral part of keeping high cholesterol at bay since the amount of fat absorbed is healthily absorbed by the body and not deposited in blood vessels.
  3. Lose weight: As per experts, losing even 10-15% weight can make a difference in one’s cholesterol levels
  4. Quit smoking: While smoking is the cause of a number of ailments, it is known as one of the leading causes of cardiac disease and heart attacks due to plaque build-up.


  1. Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Produits de Sante, [AFSSAPS guideline for the treatment of dyslipidemia]. Rev Prat. 2005 Oct 31; 55(16):1788-93.
  2. Dyslipidemia, obesity and other cardiovascular risk factors in the adult population in Senegal. Doupa D, Seck SM, Dia CA, Diallo FA, Kane MO, Kane A, Gueye PM, Mbaye MN, Gueye L, Jobe M. Pan Afr Med J. 2014; 19():181.
  3. OMS. Cadre Global Mondial de Suivi, Comprenant des Indicateurs, et Série de Cibles Mondiales Volontaires Pour la Lutte Contre les Maladies non Transmissibles. Geneva, Switzerland: OMS; 2012. 
  4. Miller M. Dyslipidemia and cardiovascular risk: the importance of early prevention. QJM. 2009;102(9):657–667. doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcp065
  5. Janine Pöss, Florian Custodis, Christian Werner, Oliver Weingärtner, Michael Böhm, Ulrich Laufs, Cardiovascular disease and dyslipidemia: beyond LDL, Curr Pharm Des. 2011; 17(9): 861–870.
  6. Jennifer S. Lee1, Po-Yin Chang, Ying Zhang, Jorge R. Kizer, Lyle G. Best and Barbara V. Howard, Triglyceride and HDL-C Dyslipidemia and Risks of Coronary Heart Disease and Ischemic Stroke by Glycemic Dysregulation Status: The Strong Heart Study, American Diabetes Association
  7. Welty FK. Cardiovascular Disease and Dyslipidemia in Women. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(4):514–522. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.4.514
  8. Ama Moor, V. J., Ndongo Amougou, S., Ombotto, S., Ntone, F., Wouamba, D. E., & Ngo Nonga, B. (2017). Dyslipidemia in Patients with a Cardiovascular Risk and Disease at the University Teaching Hospital of Yaoundé, Cameroon. International journal of vascular medicine, 2017, 6061306. doi:10.1155/2017/6061306
  9. Mayoclinic.com/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for patient awareness only. This has been written by qualified experts and scientifically validated by them. Wellthy or it’s partners/subsidiaries shall not be responsible for the content provided by these experts. This article is not a replacement for a doctor’s advice. Please always check with your doctor before trying anything suggested on this article/website.