Dyslipidemia: Definition, High Triglyceride Levels, Causes and Treatments

They are excessively high levels of cholesterol or fats (lipids) in the blood.

Lipids (fats), along with proteins and carbohydrates, are the main components of living cells.

Cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids that are stored in the body and serve as an energy source.

The desirable levels of fats in the blood are:

  • Total cholesterol: Below 200 mg / dL.
  • HDL cholesterol: men – above 40 mg / dL; Women – more than 50 mg / dL.
  • LDL cholesterol: Below 100 mg / dL; Below 70 mg / dL for people with diabetes or heart disease.
  • Triglycerides: Below 150 mg / dL.

When the lipid levels in the bloodstream are too high or too low, this condition is called dyslipidemia. The most common types of dyslipidemia are:

  • High levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or “bad”).
  • Low levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or “good”).

High levels of triglycerides

When LDL cholesterol levels are high, fat deposits (called plaques) can build up in the arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart throughout the body.

Over time, the plaques narrow the arteries, producing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

This can cause heart disease, heart attack , peripheral arterial disease, decreased blood flow in the extremities, usually the legs or stroke.

Low HDL levels and high triglyceride levels can also increase the buildup of fat in the arteries.

High levels of HDL cholesterol, however, protect the heart by helping to eliminate the buildup of LDL from the arteries.

How do hormonal disorders cause dyslipidemia?

The most common lipid disorder is hyperlipidemia , high levels of fat in the blood.

Although many of its possible causes are not related to the endocrine system, hyperlipidemia may also be related to hormonal disease

Like diabetes, hypothyroidism , low levels of thyroid hormone, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), metabolic syndrome and Cushing’s syndrome .

Central obesity excess fat around the waist or insulin resistance a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly.

Both, the risk factors for dyslipidemia, are often found in people with these endocrine disorders.


Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (sugar) levels are higher than normal.

Over time, too much glucose in the blood can cause an increase in plaque deposits inside the walls of blood vessels.

Because people with diabetes are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, it is important to keep blood sugar levels closer than normal to avoid this and other serious complications.

The regulation of blood pressure and lipid levels is especially important to control the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The most typical lipid pattern in diabetes consists of high levels of triglycerides, low levels of HDL and small, dense LDL particles, which adhere easily to the walls of the arteries.

This lipid pattern is related to central obesity and insulin resistance.


Thyroid hormone regulates the metabolism how the body uses and stores energy and affects almost every organ in the body. It also plays a role in the regulation of lipids.

Hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormone) can cause many of the body’s functions to decrease.

Early diagnosis of hypothyroidism is important because people with untreated hypothyroidism have abnormal levels of lipids that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

These patients have high levels of LDL in their blood, and some have high levels of triglycerides. Hypothyroidism is treated with medication with thyroid hormone.

The treatment usually leads to a great improvement in dyslipidemia.

Polygamistic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS consists of a group of symptoms and changes in hormone levels. Women with this condition often have many small, painless cysts in the ovaries.

Symptoms include irregular or absent menstrual periods, infertility, weight problems, acne, excess facial and body hair, and thinning hair.

Most women with PCOS have insulin resistance and many are overweight. Dyslipidemia is common in women with PCOS. They often have high levels of LDL cholesterol.

Women who are overweight with PCOS may also have low levels of HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides.

These lipid disorders put women with PCOS at higher risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

PCOS is not curable, but it can be treated with medications and changes in diet and exercise.

Metabolic syndrome

The term metabolic syndrome refers to a group of metabolic risk factors. People who have the metabolic syndrome are at risk of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The exact cause of the metabolic syndrome is unknown, but genetic factors, too much body fat (especially around the waist) and lack of exercise contribute to this.

Metabolic syndrome is often defined as the presence of three or more risk factors.

Circumference of the high waist: Men : equal or superior to 40 inches; Women : equal to or greater than 35 inches.

HDL cholesterol reduction: Men : less than 40 mg / dL, or are currently taking medications to increase HDL; Women:  less than 50 mg / dL, or currently taking medications to increase HDL

High triglycerides : Equal to or greater than 150 mg / dL, or currently taking medications to reduce triglycerides

High blood pressure: equal to or greater than 135/85 mm Hg, or currently taking medication to reduce BP.

High blood glucose level : fasting glucose equal to or greater than 100 mg / dL, or currently taking medication to reduce glucose levels.

The main goal of treatment is to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

This includes quitting smoking and lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose to the recommended levels.

Changes in lifestyle also help, lose weight, eat a healthy diet with less fat and cholesterol.

Increase physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week).

Cushing’s syndrome

Many people with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome (not caused by medications) have hyperlipidemia due to long-term exposure to high levels of cortisol.

One reason for this lipid disorder is that cortisol affects stored fat, and when cortisol levels remain high, fat accumulates around the waist.