Disease Prevention in Women

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Hypercholesterolemia (hyperlipidemia, dyslipidemia)

Elevated LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries"). Atherosclerosis can begin to develop in adolescence and progress without any symptoms for many years. It can lead to heart attack and stroke later in life.

Hyperlipidemia is a common and treatable cause of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of death in both men and women in developed countries. The goal is to diagnose and retard or reverse atherosclerosis while it is still in a silent early state

Screening tests

Blood lipid panel that includes:

Who to test and how often

  • LDL is the part of the cholesterol panel that is most significant when deciding patient treatment, as well as determining how often lipid panels are checked.
  • All adults over 20 should have a lipid panel every five years. The panel should be repeated more frequently in high-risk situations.

Benefits of early detection

There is good evidence that lowering elevated LDL cholesterol and increasing low HDL is beneficial in heart attack prevention and, in some cases, stroke prevention in subjects with or without known atherosclerosis.

Treatment of elevated LDL cholesterol is multi-dimensional. Patients should discuss their total caloric intake, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol intake as well as weight management and regular exercise with their doctor. Cholesterol-lowering medications represent an important part of treatment for many people with elevated blood lipid levels.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2016

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