High total or LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides are known as dyslipidemia.
Dyslipidemia increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Genetics, weight, and medication side effects are among the most common reasons dyslipidemia develops.
Triglycerides are fats in your blood that come from your food and supply your cells with energy. Cholesterol is a group of molecules made up of fat and protein. Your body needs them to build cells and create hormones.
The two main types of cholesterol are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is often called bad cholesterol since it can cause plaque buildup in your blood vessels. HDL is often called good cholesterol since it removes LDL from your blood.
Read on to learn more about what can cause high triglycerides and low HDL, or high LDL, and how you can get these molecules into a healthy range.
Atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease
According to the
Atherosclerosis restricts blood flow and increases your risk of developing cardiovascular issues, including:
Cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis is the world’s leading cause of death, according to
High blood pressure
High total cholesterol and blood pressure often occur together. A
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition that causes the accumulation of fat in your liver, which can lead to liver damage and serious complications. According to 2020 research, its development is linked to:
Acute pancreatitis is a potentially serious condition that causes sudden inflammation of your pancreas. Most cases resolve by themselves, but it can also lead to serious complications like kidney failure.
Here’s a look at the optimal levels for HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, according to the
|Low||less than 40 mg/dL|
|Borderline low||41–59 mg/dL|
|Optimal||above 60 mg/dL|
|Optimal||less than 100 mg/dL|
|Borderline high||130–159 mg/dL|
|Very high||above 190 mg/dL|
|Average||less than 150 mg/dL|
|Mildly elevated||150–499 mg/dL|
|Moderately elevated||500–886 mg/dL|
|Severely elevated||above 886 mg/dL|
Despite being called good cholesterol, research suggests that very high levels of HDL may increase your risk of mortality.
The researchers found the lowest mortality rates at HDL levels of 73 mg/dL in men and 93 mg/dL in women. Mortality rates increased significantly with HDL levels above 97 mg/dL in men and 135 mg/dL in women.
Note on existing studies
More research is needed to fully understand whether very high HDL levels increase the risk of death.
The authors of a 2019 study suggest that genetic mutations linked to very high HDL levels, impaired HDL function at high levels, and potential bias in research due to flaws in study design may contribute to the potential link found in some studies.
A number of health conditions can negatively impact your lipid levels. According to the
- underactive thyroid
- kidney disease
- sleep apnea
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- lupus erythematosus
A number of medications, like birth control, diuretics, and HIV medications, can also negatively impact lipid levels.
If your doctor doesn’t expect lifestyle changes will be enough to lower your triglyceride levels to a healthy range, they may recommend medications.
Some of the over-the-counter treatments that may help you treat dyslipidemia include:
It’s important to speak with your doctor before taking any new dietary supplements.
Statins are the most common medication used to treat dyslipidemia. Your doctor may also recommend prescription-strength:
Your doctor may also prescribe cholesterol absorption inhibitors or bile acid resins.
Your doctor can help you develop a plan to lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Here’s a look at some of the lifestyle changes you can make.
- red meat
- dairy products made from whole milk
- fried food
- processed meats
- sugar-sweetened foods
Exercise can help you maintain a moderate weight. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, every extra 10 pounds produces about an additional 10 milligrams of cholesterol a day. Weight loss of about 20 pounds has been found to lower LDL by 15 percent, triglycerides by 30 percent, and increase HDL levels.
Cut down on alcohol
Smoking has been found to decrease your good cholesterol and increase your bad cholesterol. The
If you have high triglycerides or high cholesterol, your doctor can help you decide on a treatment plan. Often, lifestyle changes alone are enough to manage your blood lipid levels. Your doctor may also recommend taking medications if you have severe dyslipidemia.
It’s important to have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels monitored regularly so you can see how they’re changing over time. The
High triglycerides, high LDL cholesterol, and low HDL cholesterol increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Weight, genetics, and medications are among the most common causes of high triglycerides and cholesterol.
Your doctor can advise you about how lifestyle changes and medications may help you lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.