Elevated fasting blood lipid levels

Patient

Q: I recently attended a health fair at work where I had my cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked. My triglycerides were 568 and my hdl levels were at 16. The nurse informed me that they could not measure my ldl levels and therefore could not give me a total cholesterol measurement. I am 37, am 5'3" and weigh 187 pounds. I am currently taking medication for high blood pressure and have been taking this medication for 2 years now. What is the seriousness of my numbers above and should I see my doctor?

Doctor

A:   According to the American Heart Association the desirable Total cholesterol level is <200 mg/dL. With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better. An HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease. Your HDL level is 16mg/dL, which is very low and provides no protective benefit. Triglyceride is another form of fat. If your level is <150 mg/dL it is normal and in your case it is 568mg/dL which is extremely high. I would advise attending your family doctor for a complete set of fasting blood lipid values, and trial of diet and lifestyle modification, to try and improve lipid levels to within normal range. In addition to your high blood pressure, it is important to reduce your fasting lipid levels, to reduce your overall risk of future cardiovascular events .

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