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Which blood lipids are linked to heart disease?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 11, 2023.

Official answer


Blood lipids include a type of fat called triglycerides and a waxy substance called cholesterol. Cholesterol has two components, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDH). High levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol are linked to heart disease.

High levels of LDL cholesterol, often called the “bad” cholesterol, are associated with heart disease. LDL cholesterol can stick to artery walls causing the formation of blockages or plaques. As the plaques build up (a condition called atherosclerosis) they reduce or block the flow of blood to the heart, which can result in chest pain and lead to a heart attack.

Low levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” or “healthy” cholesterol, can also increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol is involved in removing the “bad” LDL cholesterol from your body. If your levels of HDL cholesterol are not high enough, then less of the “bad” cholesterol is removed.

High levels of triglycerides are also associated with heart disease because they can also cause a buildup of plaques. Triglycerides are stored in fat cells in your body and supply your body with energy between meals.

A lipid profile is a blood test that can tell you if you have high levels of lipids (hyperlipidaemia) in your blood.

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