Dyslipidemia is defined as having blood lipid levels that are too high or low. Blood lipids are fatty substances, such as triglycerides and cholesterol.
Dyslipidemia occurs when someone has abnormal levels of lipids in their blood. While the term describes a wide range of conditions, the most common forms of dyslipidemia involve:
  • high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol
  • low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or good cholesterol
  • high levels of triglycerides
  • high cholesterol, which refers to high LDL and triglyceride levels
Lipids, or fats, are building blocks of life and provide energy to cells. Lipids include:
  • LDL cholesterol, which is considered bad because it can cause plaques to form in the blood vessels
  • HDL cholesterol, which is regarded as good because it can help to remove LDL from the blood
  • Triglycerides, which develop when calories are not burned right away and are stored in fat cells.

Unless it is severe, most people with dyslipidemia are unaware that they have it. A doctor will usually diagnose dyslipidemia during a routine blood test or a test for another condition. Severe or untreated dyslipidemia can lead to other conditions, including coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Both CAD and PAD can cause serious health complications, including heart attacks and strokes.
Common symptoms of these conditions include: leg pain, chest pain, tightness or pressure in the chest and shortness of breath, indigestion or heartburn, sleep problems and daytime exhaustion, dizziness, heart palpitations, cold sweats, swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, stomach and veins of the neck, and fainting.