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Cholesterol (also called lipid) is a fat-like substance that deposits in the walls of blood vessels. It can contribute to the development of heart disease in certain individuals. Hypercholesterolemia is the clinical term for high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Other related terms used are high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia, and dyslipidemia.

While cholesterol is the most commonly referred-to element of the lipid profile, there are several elements that are tested, with differing significance of elevated or low levels. The desirable levels of the different elements vary somewhat depending on the presence of other risk factors of coronary artery disease (CAD).

Hyperlipidemia is known to be a key factor in the development of atherosclerosis (plaques that cause blockage of blood vessels) and is the greatest risk factor for the development of CAD. In the U.S., 500,000 men and women die of CAD each year.

High cholesterol is not always due to dietary intake of saturated foods. There are also hereditary disorders of cholesterol over-production and deposition. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia and can be difficult to treat.

There are a variety of medications now available which are designed to achieve the desired changes in the lipid profile. These, in conjunction with dietary and lifestyle interventions are the bases of treatment for hyperlipidemia.

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The Medifocus Guide on Hyperlipidemia provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:

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This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:

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