Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska



Helpful Cholesterol Terms

  1. Apolipoprotein A (Apo A) The major protein component(s) of high-density lipoprotein(HDL)

  2. Apolipoprotein B (Apo B) Apolipoprotein responsible for uptake of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by peripheral liver cell surface receptors.

  3. Atherosclerosis When the inner layer of the artery wall is made thick and irregular by deposits of fatty substance and cells called plaque. Plaque narrows the diameter of the blood vessel and impedes blood flow. This may lead to chest or leg pain during exercise and increased risk of heart attack. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include: smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high blood sugar, family history of atherosclerosis (especially before the age of 55), a sedentary lifestyle.

  4. Cholesterol is one type of fat in the blood. It is produced primarily in the liver but also enters the body from the diet. Cholesterol is a normal component of the blood and is need for nerves, cell walls, and hormones. Cholesterol in blood is transported in lipoproteins. The cholesterol is the sum of the cholesterol carried in the three important lipoproteins: high density lipoproteins (HLD), low density lipoprotein (LDL), and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL).

  5. Chylomincron A stable droplet containing 86 percent triglyceride fat, 3 percent cholesterol, 9 percent phospholipids, and 2 percent protein, found in the intestinal lymphatics and blood during and after meal; this is the form in which absorbed fats and cholesterol are transported from the intestine.

  6. HDL Cholesterol Cholesterol carried by the High Density Lipoprotein. HDL cholesterol is often termed “the good cholesterol” because large amounts of HDL cholesterol are associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

  7. Homocysteine An amino acid (a building block of protein) in the blood that can damage blood vessels and cause heart disease. The homocysteine level is generally not checked after the initial visit except in specific cases.

  8. LDL Cholesterol Cholesterol carried by Low Density Lipoprotein. Cholesterol carried in this lipoprotein is often termed “the bad cholesterol”, because increased quantities are associated with build up in blood vessel walls, increasing the risk of heart disease.

  9. Lipid A scientific word for “fat”. Lipids are useful and necessary in our diets, and in our bodies. But sometimes abnormal lipids contribute to health problems such as heart disease.

  10. Lipoprotein A combination of cholesterol, triglyceride, and protein. Because fat and water do not mix, cholesterol and triglycerides must be coated by protein to be transported in the blood.

  11. Non HDL. The sum total of all of the plaque forming cholesterol proteins. LDL generally represents 85% of the total but can vary greatly from person to person. It is calculated by subtracting the HDL from the total cholesterol.

  12. Lp(a) A form of LDL in the blood, related to the risk of heart disease and stroke. Lp(a) results take longer to process that the rest of your blood tests. They will be sent separately and along with a more detailed explanation. Lp(a) results are usually checked only at the initial visit.

  13. Triglyceride The form of fat in the body’s fat deposits. It is the fat that is formed when we eat more calories than we burn. Triglycerides are a source of stored energy and can be transported through the blood. The role of high blood triglycerides in heart disease is unclear; however, it may increase the risk for heart disease.

  14. VLDL Cholesterol Cholesterol carried by Very Low Density Lipoprotein. This is the cholesterol carried from the liver with triglyceride.

  15. MG % or MG/DL Milligrams (thousandths of a gram) per deciliter (tenth of a liter); unit of measurement for quantity of cholesterol or triglyceride in the blood.

For more information, please consult with the medical professionals at Diabetes and Lipid Clinic of Alaska.

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