High cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance similar to fat that is found in every part of the body. It is essential for the body to function correctly. Cholesterol travels through the blood in particles called lipoproteins.

Depending on the particle in which the cholesterol travels, we have:

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or HDL cholesterol

This is known as good cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein absorbs cholesterol from the body and carries it to the liver, from where it is flushed away. A high level of HDL cholesterol has a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or LDL cholesterol

This is known as bad cholesterol and is the most harmful. Low-density lipoprotein carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. If the LDL cholesterol level is very high, it tends to adhere to the artery walls, hardening and narrowing them. The arteries can become blocked, thus impeding blood flow. This process is called arteriosclerosis and it can lead to cardiovascular diseases

The recommended level of LDL cholesterol in the blood varies according to the patient’s cardiovascular risk and whether they have suffered from any cardiovascular disease.

Among the general population, total cholesterol levels are classified as follows:

What are triglycerides?

They are a type of fat found in the blood. The body uses them to obtain energy. An appropriate level of triglycerides is necessary for the body to function correctly. However, a high level can cause arteriosclerosis and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Among the general population triglyceride levels are classified as follows:

Medicinal treatment is recommended for triglyceride levels of 500 mg/dl or above.

With what health problems
are they associated?


This occurs when the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood exceeds what the body needs. This condition is the main cause of cardiovascular diseases.


1 out of every 5 people has total cholesterol over 250 mg/ml


3 out of every 5 people has total cholesterol over 200 mg/ml


This occurs when there is a high amount of triglycerides in the blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat that derives from the food we eat.


Hypertriglyceridaemia affects 27 % of the Spanish population 

Mixed hyperlipidaemia

This occurs when the total blood cholesterol levels are moderate or high and when the triglyceride levels are high or very high.

Development of the disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is associated with the development of arteriosclerosis.
A high level of LDL cholesterol in the blood can build up in the arteries.
As a result, the flow of blood that reaches the heart, brain, and the rest of the body may be obstructed, and the following complications could arise:

Main arteries


Carry blood to the heart 


Acute myocardial infarction or angina pectoris


Carry blood to the brain


Cerebral infarction or ischaemic stroke


Carry blood to the rest of the body


Pain in the calf, which starts when walking and disappears when at rest (intermittent claudication syndrome).

High cholesterol is one of the main cardiovascular risk factors

* The result of the cardiovascular risk calculation indicates the probability that a person will have a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years, based on their clinical characteristics.

High cholesterol is an asymptomatic health problem and many patients are unaware of the risk it involves

“Doing nothing” is not an option, high cholesterol does not resolve on its own

Complementary measures to
reduce cardiovascular risk

Patients with hypercholesterolaemia and/or hypertriglyceridaemia should follow a series of recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, aimed at reducing LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and thus reducing the cardiovascular risk.

Blood pressure control*

Maintaining blood pressure within the recommended levels reduces cardiovascular risk.

A healthy balanced diet*

Make fruit, vegetables, pulses and wholemeal cereals a priority. Avoid saturated and trans fats, and follow a low sodium diet.

Regular physical exercise*

At least 30 minutes a day almost every day of the week.

Avoiding tobacco and alcohol*

Reduce the risk of suffering a cardiovascular event.

Weight control*

Maintaining a healthy weight helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases.

* Benefits backed by science

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El colesterol alto es uno de los principales factores de riesgo cardiovascular