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Cholesterol Definitions

See a word that you don't recognize? This glossary of terms related to cholesterol will help you to understand everything related to cholesterol - including some of the new and obscure things that even researchers are sometimes grasping to understand.

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)
DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in certain foods. Find out what it is and how it can affect your heart health.

Absorption is the movement of nutrients and other substances, such as cholesterol, from the gastrointestinal tract to the bloodstream.

Acute Coronary Syndrome
Acute coronary syndrome is actually a group of syndromes that results from the sudden rupture of atherosclerotic plaque.

The definition of angina and how it relates to high cholesterol and heart disease.

The definition of angiography and what it is used for.

The definition of angioplasty and how it relates to heart disease and high cholesterol.

Antioxidants are chemicals found in certain foods and vitamins, but their use in preventing heart disease is controversial.

Apolipoproteins perform a variety of important functions in cholesterol transport. Find out what they are and how they affect you.

Apolipoprotein A1
Apolipoprotein A1, or apo A1 is a major protein that makes up high-density liporprotein, or HDL cholesterol. Having high levels of apo A1 could help in heart disease prevention.

Apolipoprotein B
Apo B is a major protein that makes up low-density liporprotein, or LDL cholesterol. Apo B helps transport cholesterol and triglycerides to cells in the body.

Apolipoprotein C-III (apo C-III)
Apolipoprotein C-III is a protein found in VLDL cholesterol particles.

Apolipoprotein E
Apolipoprotein e, or apo E, is a protein that is found in triglycerides, chylomicrons, and HDL. Find out how this protein can affect your risk for heart disease.

Arteriosclerosis is a general term that refers to the loss of elasticity and thickening of arteries.

An artery is a blood vessel that carries oxygen, nutrients, and other components found in blood from the heart to various tissues and organs of the body.

Atherogenic pertains to the ability to promote the development of atherosclerosis.

An atheroma, also referred to as a plaque, develops due to a process called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arterial blood vessels (arteries), in which the walls of the blood vessels become thickened and hardened by "plaques."

Bile Acid Sequestrants
The definition of bile acid sequestrants, and how they work in the body to lower cholesterol.

Bile Acids
Bile acids are made in the liver and are responsible for emulsifying fats.

C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
C-reactive protein is used to predict heart disease risk and can be elevated in some chronic conditions and during inflammation. A C-reactive protein test can catch people at high risk of heart disease even when cholesterol levels are normal.

Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a medical procedure that examines the arteries of the heart.

Cardiovascular System
The cardiovascular system is an organ system that includes the heart and blood vessels of the body.

Carotid Artery
The carotid artery is an important artery in the body that supplies blood to the brain.

Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease is a condition where cholesterol and other lipids build up on the carotid arteries, limiting blood flow to the brain.

Carotid Endarterectomy
Carotid endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes plaque from the carotid arteries.

Carotid Intima Media Thickness
Carotid artery intima media thickness, or CIMT, is a measurement of atherosclerotic plaque formation in the carotid artieries. It is performed by using doppler ultrasound on the carotid artery.

Cerebrovascular Disease
Definition of cerebrovascular disease and how it relates to high cholesterol levels.

CHD Risk Equivalent
A CHD risk equivalent is a condition that may not have many symptoms, but could place you at the risk of have a coronary event equivalent to someone who has already had one.

Cholesterol - you need it for your body, but too much of it can be detrimental to your heart. Here, you will find the definition of cholesterol.

Cholesterol Embolism
A cholesterol embolism refers to particles of cholesterol that break of an atherosclerotic plaque and travel to other areas of the body.

Cholesterol Ratio
Cholesterol ratio can be measured as total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio or ratio between LDL to HDL cholesterol.

Chylomicrons are lipoproteins that transport triglycerides and cholesterol from the small intestine to other tissues for chylomicron metabolism.

Coronary Arteries
Every muscle needs a blood supply, including the heart. Its blood supply comes from the coronary arteries.

Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Plaques in the coronary arteries can obstruct blood flow to the heart muscle which can produce angina (chest pain). If a coronary artery plaque ruptures, a heart attack can occur.

A thrombus is a blood clot that forms in a blood vessel or in the heart.

A cholesteatoma is a benign growth in the middle ear that is comprised of cholesterol crystals and epithelial cells.

Thrombosis is the process where a thrombus, or blood clot, forms within a vessel in the body.

Total Cholesterol
A total cholesterol levels measures LDL, HDL, and VLDL.

Dyslipidemia is a condition that involves your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This definition will give you more details.

Endogenous Cholesterol
Endogenous cholesterol is cholesterol that is made of inside the body. Endogenous cholesterol is made by the liver in the body, which is used for many biological processes, such as lining nerves, serving as a precursor for other hormones and providing cellular structure.

The definition of endothelium and its location in the body.

Essential Fatty Acid
Essential fatty acids are fats that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained through diet. Essential fatty acids lower cholesterol levels.

Exogenous Cholesterol
Exogenous cholesterol, obtained from outside of the body, is usually obtained through diet – especially in diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic condition characterized by high LDL cholesterol. It has been linked as one of the causes of high ldl and the causes of heart disease at a very early age. This definition of hypercholesterolemia explains whether or not high cholesterol is genetic and the link between high cholesterol and heart disease.

The definition of fibric acid derivatives, or fibrates, and how they work in the body.

Flavonoids are chemicals found in certain foods that may help lower the incidence of LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis.

Foam Cell
Foam cells are involved in plaque formation and the development of atherosclerosis. These factors contribute to heart disease.

Free Radicals
Free radicals are molecules that are highly reactive and can produce damage to cells and tissues in the body. These, along with LDL, can contribute to a process called "atherosclerosis."

High Density Lipoproteins
The definition of HDL, otherwise known as the "good" cholesterol.

The definition of homocysteine, its purpose, and function in the body.

What is hypercholesterolemia? This definition will tell you what hypercholesterolemia is and how it affects you.

Hyperlipidemia is a condition where there is an elevation of lipids, or fats, in the blood. Find out which lipids are affected and how your heart health could be affected if not treated.

Hypertriglyceridemia is a condition that is characterized by high levels of triglycerides.

Hypocholesterolemia is a condition where cholesterol levels are extrememly low.

Inflammation is a redness and swelling at the site of an infection or injury. It can also contribute to causing atherosclerosis.

Insoluble Fiber
Insoluble fiber is a source of fiber that that is contained in many fruits, vegetables, and nuts. While it does not help to lower cholesterol, it is important for your health.

Intermediate Density Lipoprotein
Intermediate density lipoproteins, or IDLs, transport cholesterol and triglycerides through the body. IDLs are a type of cholesterol that are a product of vldl degradation and result in ldl cholesterol when broken down.

The definition of ischemia, and what it means in terms of your cholesterol.

Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease is a condition where an inadequate blood supply reaches vessels of the heart.

A lipid is a fat-like molecule that does not have the ability to dissolve in water. It is one of the major building blocks of animal cells. Many times, it will be referred to as a "fat".

Lipid Panel
A lipid panel is a series of tests that measures the amount of the different types of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.

A lipoprotein is a combination of a fat and protein molecule. The protein helps to transport fat to where it is needed in the body.

Lipoprotein (a)
Lipoprotein a is a type of cholesterol that consists of LDL cholesterol attached to apolipoprotein a. When lipoprotein a is high, you might be at an increased risk of heart disease.

Lipoprotein Associated Phospholipase A2
Lipoprotein associated phospholipase A2 is an enzyme released by white blood cells and promotes inflammation. It is a marker for heart disease and contributes to atherosclerosis

Low Density Lipoprotein
Low density lipoproteins, or LDL, are a type of cholesterol in your blood. This definition will explain to you why LDL is also referred to as the "bad" cholesterol.

Macrophages defend the body against foreign cells, like bacteria. They can also contribute to the formation of atherosclerosis, along with high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels.

Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts and oils. Learn more about monounsaturated fats.

Myalgia is a set of symptoms that includes muscle pain, weakness, and tenderness in one muscle or a group of muscles.

Myocardial Infarction
This definition describes what a myocardial infarction is and how it relates to high cholesterol.

Myopathy is a general term that refers to any disease of muscle tissue that can arise at any point in life.

Nutrient Claims
A nutrient claims are statements on food packaging that establishes the quantity of a particular ingredient.

An occlusion is a complete blockage of a vessel.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A type of unsaturated fats that are classified as an essential fatty acid, which means that they cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet.

Oxidized Low Density Lipoprotein
An oxidized low density lipoprotein is a form of ldl that has been oxidized. Oxidized ldl can cause atherosclerosis by causing inflammation at the site of an artery and accumulation of fats within the artery.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils
Partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fats, are a type of fat that can raise cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease.

Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease is a condition involving poor circulation to your legs. Find out what causes this condition, as well as the symptoms associated with it.

Phytosterols are cholesterol-like compounds that lower cholesterol by interfering with absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine.

Plaque formation could be a consequence of having persistently high cholesterol levels. This definition will tell you what it is and what exactly causes it.

Polyphenols are a group of chemicals that have many potential health benefits. There are several foods containing polyphenols, including fruits, vegetables, and other plants. They are classified as polyphenol antioxidants, meaning that they remove free radicals from the body.

Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish and grains. Polyunsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats are also known as a healthy fat.

Remnant Lipoproteins
Remnant lipoproteins are LDL-like particles that could contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Rhabdomyolysis is a rare, but serious, condition in which skeletal muscle fibers rapidly break down and release their byproducts into the bloodstream.

Risk Factors
Risk factors are conditions or habits that can increase the likelihood of person having a particular medical condition.

Saturated Fat
Saturated fats are in animal products and are solid at room temperature and have been known to raise LDL cholesterol levels.

Sitosterolemia is a rare, inherited condition in which phytosterols cannot be broken down properly in the body.

Small, Dense LDL
Small dense LDL particles can help to promote the formation of atherosclerosis, leading to heart disease.

Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber is contained in many foods, such as psyllium, beans, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown that soluble fiber can lower LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease.

Statins are a type of drug that help lower your cholesterol. This definition will tell you more about them.

Stenosis is a condition where a blood vessel has become abnormally narrowed. Find out how high cholesterol can be related to causing stenosis in arteries.

This definition explains what a stent is and how it helps restore blood flow to important to vital tissues in the body.

Trans Fats
Trans fats are a type of fat that has been linked to raising LDL, lowering HDL, and contributing to the heart disease. Trans fats are added to foods to extend their shelf life and to add texture. Eating high amounts of trans fats can raise your cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.

This will tell you what triglycerides do and what their function is in your body.

Unsaturated fats
This definition will tell you about unsaturated fats, or the "good" fats, and how they may help to lower your cholesterol.

Very Low Density Lipoprotein
Very low density lipoproteins, or VLDL, are made up of triglycerides, cholesterol, and proteins. VLDL carries cholesterol from your liver to organs and tissues in the body. VLDL is a precursor to LDL.

Intermittent Claudication
Intermittent claudication is a cluster of symptoms characterized by a painful cramping pain in a muscle groups usually induced by exercise.

A xanthoma is a yellowish to white bump - or nodule - that occurs underneath the skin or on tendons.

Alpha Linolenic Acid
Alpha linolenic acid, or ALA, is an omega 3 fatty acid that may help keep your heart healthy.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat found in certain foods. Studies have shown that these fats may also help keep your heart healthy.

A stroke occurs when there is a disruption in blood flow.

Heart Attack
Find out what a heart attack is, and how high cholesterol may play a role in causing one.

EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid)
Eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is an omega 3 fatty acid that possesses many healthy benefits.

Cardiovascular Disease
The definition of cardiovascular disease, and how high cholesterol can contribute to it.

LDL Apheresis
Find out what LDL apheresis is, and how it affects LDL cholesterol levels.

Phytochemicals are certain compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant products

Phytostanols are cholesterol-like compounds found in plants, and can help lower LDL cholesterol.

Nicotinic Acid
Nicotinic acid is a form of niacin that helps lower cholesterol.

Ischemic Stroke
An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted due to blood clot.

Hypotriglyceridemia is a condition of very low triglyceride levels.

Familial Hypertriglyceridemia
Familial hypertriglyceridemia is an inherited, autosomal dominant disorder that results in very high triglyceride levels.

Primary Hyperlipidemia
This article gives you the definition of primary hyperlipidemia.

Secondary Hyperlipidemia
Secondary hyperlipidemia is a form of high lipid levels acquired through certain diseases or medications.

Hypolipidemia is a condition where blood lipids - such as cholesterol or triglycerides - are too low.

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