High Cholesterol: Overview
High cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, refers to having high levels of a substance called cholesterol in the blood. It is a common chronic condition that often has no symptoms itself, but is a major risk factor for heart disease and arteriosclerosis (“narrowed arteries”). Cholesterol damages the arteries by causing a build-up of “plaque” inside the arteries, which is a yellowish-white substance inside the blood vessels.
High cholesterol is also often associated with three other chronic disorders: obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes (Type 2 diabetes). The group of these four disorders together is often called Metabolic Syndrome or “Syndrome X”.
High cholesterol often has no clear underlying cause, which is called primary hypercholesterolemia or idiopathic hypercholesterolemia. In this case, it is a multifactorial disorder with various lifestyle risk factors and multiple genetic factors (polygenic), but no single cause. Less commonly, there may be another major disease causing the high cholesterol, when it is called secondary hypercholesterolemia.
- Heart Disease: Heart Disease, also called Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), refers to any condition of the heart or its major blood vessels. There
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- Arteriosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the artery wells. In medical terminology, atheroma is the narrowing of the arteries (due to
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- Obesity: Obesity is an excess of body weight due to fatty tissue. Milder forms are called “overweight”. See also the symptom
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- Diabetes: Diabetes is a metabolic disease where the body loses the ability to properly process sugars (glucose). The full medical name
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- Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and the less severe of the two most common forms
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- Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic Syndrome, also called Syndrome X, is a group of four major chronic diseases: Obesity, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and
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- Hyperlipidemia: Hyperlipidemia refers to high “lipids” in the blood stream. It is also often called “dyslipidemia” (meaning a dysfunction of lipids
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- Hypothyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is production of too little hormone by the thyroid gland located in the neck. It is also called under-active thyroid disease
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- Myxedema: Myxedema may refer generally to under-active thyroid disease (hypothyroidism), or it may be used to refer to a particular
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- Liver Disorders: The liver is a large organ that can have various disorders. Infection or inflammation of the liver is called hepatitis
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Related Disease Topics
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Liver Disorders
- Nephrotic Syndrome
- Kidney Disorders
Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.