The two primary lipids in the body are cholesterol and triglycerides (TGs), both of which serve as building blocks for biological membranes. Neither lipid is soluble in water and therefore, must be “packaged” in lipoproteins for transportation through the body’s aqueous environment.
Cholesterol is a precursor for a number of key things synthesized by the body, such as Vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile salts. Cholesterol is either ingested in the diet (though it is poorly absorbed) or synthesized in individual cells. It is transported through the body in the form of lipoproteins.
Triglycerides are considered the body’s main constituent of fat and primary energy source, which the body stores upon the consumption of high-calorie, high fat foods.
Normally, triglyceride levels in the blood are below 150 mg/dL. As a result of genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices, triglycerides can increase, leading to conditions that require treatment. When TG levels rise to the 150-200 mg/dL range, they are described as “borderline” elevated. At concentrations of 200-499 mg/dL, they become abnormal and are classified as “hypertriglyceridemia” (HTG).
The condition is more urgent in the setting of “severe hypertriglyceridemia” (SHTG), where triglyceride concentrations reach 500 mg/dL or higher. At such extreme levels, TGs are associated with a significantly increased risk of pancreatitis and cardiovascular events.
The American Heart Association recommends a TG level of 100 mg/dL or less to improve heart health. Nevertheless, most existing therapies are only recommended for patients with triglycerides levels greater than 500 mg/dL.
U.S. adults have triglyceride levels above the normal range
Mixed dyslipidemia is a medical condition that includes either abnormally high levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides, or any combination of high levels of cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, and low levels of HDL-cholesterol. Though frequently genetic in origin, mixed dyslipidemia can be exacerbated by obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, alcohol, and thyroid disease. It is considered a powerful contributor to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Treating this condition requires addressing the high levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides.
U.S. adults are affected by mixed dyslipidemia