Hypercholesterolemia (High Blood
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition in which
the level of cholesterol in your blood is
high. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that
is present in many of your body tissues, and
it is also present in foods of animal
origin, such as egg yolk, liver, and
shellfish. Cholesterol can be manufactured
in the liver from digested food (especially
digested fats) and carried in the
bloodstream to places it is needed.
reading shows a combination of both "good"
and "bad" cholesterol. Low-density
lipoprotein (LDL), known as "bad"
cholesterol, tends to get deposited in our
arteries and causes atherosclerosis (clogged
arteries). High-density lipoprotein (HDL),
known as "good" cholesterol, tends to unclog
the arteries. However, there is usually more
LDL than HDL cholesterol present in your
cholesterol level of 200 or less is
considered good. A level between 200 and 239
is borderline high. A reading of 240 or more
is high and indicates you have
have an inherited tendency towards high
blood cholesterol. Hypercholesterolemia can
also be caused by other diseases, such as
diabetes or disorders of the liver or
thyroid gland or from medications. Most
often, however, hypercholesterolemia is
caused by the food you eat, especially food
containing saturated fat (mainly animal
What are the
cholesterol does not cause any symptoms.
How is it
cholesterol is diagnosed by a blood test
that is ordered by your health care
provider, either at the time of a medical
checkup or during an investigation of
Hypercholesterolemia may also be detected
during a public cholesterol screening, often
given at health fairs. If your blood test
shows a high total cholesterol level, you
should discuss it with your health care
How is it treated?
A diet that
is low in fat (especially saturated fat) and
low in cholesterol is the first line of
treatment. Regular exercise, weight
reduction if you are overweight, and
quitting smoking are also important. Your
doctor may also prescribe medication that
helps lower your cholesterol levels.
How can I take
care of myself?
health care provider's recommendations
for lowering your blood cholesterol. A
registered dietician will be able to
instruct you on a low-cholesterol diet.
Try to follow any dietary
recommendations made by your health care
provider, nutritionist, or dietician.
cholesterol checked regularly.
smoke, quit. If you need help in
quitting, ask your health care provider.
daily. Walking is a great form of
exercise. Walk at least 20 to 30 minutes
a day if you can, as it takes that long
for your body to begin burning stored
labels carefully, not only the
nutritional claims in the front of the
package. Beware of "hidden" fat in
yourself that lower cholesterol means
less risk of heart disease and stroke.
Developed by Ann
Carter, MD, for iMcKesson Clinical Reference
Published by iMcKesson Clinical Reference
Copyright © 1995-2000 iMcKesson LLC. All
Adapted from content provided
by iMcKesson, LLC
Review Date: 6/9/2001