Dyslipidaemia is an excessive concentration of lipids in the blood.
Cholesterol is the most abundant fatty substance in the animal kingdom and the most important in terms of metabolism.
It is found in all cells and is involved in biological functions that are essential to our body. Since cholesterol is a fat particle, and therefore has hydrophobic properties, it cannot circulate freely in the blood. It is transported bound to lipoproteins (a combination of phospholipids and triglycerides, and proteins), low-density lipoproteins or LDLs and high-density lipoproteins or HDLs.
LDL is considered “bad cholesterol” because these lipoproteins contain more lipids than proteins and transport cholesterol from the liver to the body’s cells.
HDL or “good cholesterol” takes cholesterol from the body and transports it to the liver where it is eliminated. When there is an imbalance of lipoproteins in the blood, it is called dyslipidaemia or hyperlipidaemia:
• LDL-cholesterol levels should not exceed 1.6 g/l
• HDL-cholesterol levels should be above 0.45 g/l
• The overall cholesterol level, which corresponds to the HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, as well as one fifth of the triglyceride level, should be less than 2 g/l.
High cholesterol, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease
Lipid abnormalities favour atherosclerosis (the depositing of atheromatous plaque on the artery walls), which encourages the development of cardiovascular diseases or accidents. This risk is increased if other factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, being overweight etc.) are present. An abnormally high level of triglycerides can also trigger pancreatitis. Diagnosed patients are treated by adopting preventive or curative measures accompanied by behavioural changes in hygiene and diet.