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Care and Treatment for Lipid Metabolism Disorders

Why Choose Treatment for Lipid Metabolism Disorders at University of Colorado Hospital?

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University of Colorado Hospital's Lipid Clinic is directed by the only doctor team in the Rocky Mountain region with academic training in disorders of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. Unique diagnostic and therapeutic options, such as LDL Apheresis, are also available.

What are Lipid Metabolism Disorders?

Lipids are the fats that are present in your body.

Certain genetic disorders or medical conditions such as diabeteshypothyroidism, kidney disease and liver disease can cause dysfunction of your lipid metabolism (your body’s use of lipids). A poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and/or certain medications also can influence your lipid levels.

The major lipids in the blood stream are cholesterol and triglycerides.

Cholesterol is carried through your body in lipoproteins (compounds that move cholesterol and triglycerides through your blood). Cholesterol helps to form and repair cells in your body. There are two types of cholesterol.

  • LDL, or low density cholesterol, is considered “bad” cholesterol because when it is too high it causes coronary artery (heart) disease that can lead to heart attack.
  • HDL, or high density cholesterol, is considered “good” because it protects against coronary artery disease.

Triglycerides supply energy for your body. When triglycerides are very high they cause severe inflammation of the pancreas, called pancreatitis. In some patients, high triglycerides also increase the risk for coronary heart disease.

Tests & Treatments

Blood tests are used to establish your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


Common Treatments for Lipid Metabolism Disorders


Diet. Following a healthy diet that is free of trans fat and reduced in saturated fats is the most important way you can lower your bad cholesterol. Lowering triglycerides also may require decreasing your weight, alcohol intake, and variably simple sugars.


Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise will help raise your HDL (good) cholesterol level and reduce your risk of coronary artery (heart) disease and heart attack.


Medication. Your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications when diet and exercise are not effective in lowering cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels. These medications must be used in combination with a healthy diet and exercise plan.


LDL Apheresis. A new therapy that is used with patients whose high cholesterol levels do not respond to diet, exercise and medication. The LDL apheresis procedure involves two intravenous (IV) lines, one inserted into each arm.

Medical Team

The University of Colorado Hospital program uses a team approach to provide you with the care and support you need to successfully manage your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.


Lipid Metabolism Disorders Specialists


Endocrinologist – a doctor who specializes in the body’s hormone activity. An endocrinologist will determine the correct treatment plan based on the severity of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


Registered Nurse – a nurse certified by the state who can assist you with medical questions and provides education when necessary.


Other Lipid Metabolism Disorders Staff


Registered Dietician – a professional trained to prevent and treat disease through the use of individual nutrients found in food and supplements. You will work with the dietician to create a meal plan that will help lower your cholesterol and/or triglycerides.

Patient Education

Living With Lipid Metabolism Disorders (high cholesterol and triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol)

It is important that you treat high LDL (bad) cholesterol and sometimes high triglycerides to reduce your risk of coronary artery (heart) disease, heart attack and pancreatitis (severe inflammation of the pancreas).


You can lower unhealthy levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. A diet plan recommended by the American Heart Association that lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides includes:

  • Less than one percent of your diet should be trans fats
  • Less than seven percent of the calories should be saturated fats (dairy, meat, coconut and/or palm oils often used in baked goods)
  • Less than 300 milligrams a day of cholesterol
  • Five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • More high fiber foods such as oats, dark rice, beans, and nuts.
  • Reducing weight, alcohol and sweets can also help reduce triglycerides

If these are not effective, your doctor may prescribe medications that work in combination with diet and exercise.


Lipid Metabolism Disorders: Getting a Second Opinion

University of Colorado Hospital is happy to offer a second opinion and to work with you if you choose to come to our hospital for treatment.


Additional Lipid Metabolism Disorders Resources

American Heart Association