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Why Do I Have Lipedema?

Lipedema is the medical term for the presence of lipids in the blood and clinically, when referring to elevations in lipids, this term is used synonymously with the more accurate term, dyslipidemia. It can be either (or both):

  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertriglyceridemia

“Mixed hyperlipidemia” is both hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia.


Cholesterol is a fatty substance used in the body for many purposes, such as synthesis of hormones, vitamin D, and digestive chemicals. It also provides the coating around nerves that insulates them to conduct signals faster, the absence of which would be incompatible with life. There is also a detrimental effect of cholesterol when certain sub-types of it are either too high or too low.

There are different types of cholesterol and their abnormal levels have clinical relevance to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • LDL-C: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevations of which raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, since this is the cholesterol whose accumulation builds plaques in arteries, leading to obstruction and embolic events such as stroke and ischemia of the heart and other organs.
  • HDL-C: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, elevations of which actually lower the risk of cardiovascular disease because it carries cholesterol from the rest of the body to the liver for elimination. Alternately, lower-than-normal HDL-C impairs this protective mechanism.
  • VLDL-C: Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which like the LDL-C-accumulating cholesterol, does the same in accumulating triglycerides when higher than normal.

Hypercholesterolemia can be a genetic disease, “familial hypercholesterolemia,” in which there is reduced clearance of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).


Hypertriglyceridemia refers to abnormal elevations of triglycerides in the blood. These are a type of non-cholesterol fat from food; calories not burned are stored in body fat as triglycerides. Triglycerides are elevated with over-eating, smoking, excessive alcohol, liver or kidney disease, and type 2 DM.

Along with elevations in LDL-C or too-low levels of HDL-C, hypertriglyceridemia is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Lipid profiles are done to identify those with dyslipidemia–either hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, or both. These is done to determine the the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease and neurological stroke.


Statins are lipid-lowering medications used to re-balance cholesterol and triglycerides into normal ranges as part of a heart-healthy strategy. They work by interfering with the synthesis of cholesterol. Even the VLDL is reduced, which lowers the triglyceride accumulation that the VLDL normally carries.


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This information is provided by Vascular Health Clinics and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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