Blood lipids

Increased blood lipid levels promote arteriosclerosis. Read more about the various blood lipids and the importance of blood lipids!

Blood lipids

The Blood lipids provide information about the amount of various lipids (fats) in the blood such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Since blood fat is not water-soluble, it is bound to special transport proteins: the complex of fat and protein is called lipoprotein. With the help of a blood fat analysis the different fat values ​​in the blood can be determined. Find out here what lowered and elevated blood lipid levels mean for your health.

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Blood lipids

  • What are lipid levels?

  • When do you determine the blood lipid levels?

  • Guideline values ​​for blood lipid levels

  • When are the blood lipid levels too low?

  • When are the blood lipid levels too high?

  • What to do if blood lipids change?

What are lipid levels?

Key blood lipid levels include blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol:

Triglycerides (neutral fats) belong to the group of dietary fats. They serve the body as an energy reserve and are stored in the fatty tissue until they are used. Cholesterol, on the other hand, can be absorbed through the diet as well as produced in the liver and intestine. It is an important part of the cell walls. In addition, bile acids, vitamin D and steroid hormones are made from cholesterol.


Since fats (lipids) are insoluble in water, they must be transported in the form of lipoproteins in aqueous blood. The lipoproteins consist of the lipids (inside) and a water-soluble surface of proteins (outside). Depending on the composition and task, a distinction is made between different lipoproteins:

  • Chylomicrons: transport lipids from food (such as triglycerides, cholesterol) from the intestine to the liver and into adipose tissue.
  • VLDL (very low density lipoprotein): brings triglycerides from the liver to other parts of the body.
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein): mainly brings home-made cholesterol from the liver to other body cells; At high blood concentration, it deposits on the vessel walls, causing or accelerating the development of arteriosclerosis.
  • HDL (high density lipoportein): transports excess cholesterol from the body's cells back to the liver, where it can be broken down.

LDL cholesterol is considered "bad" because it promotes the development of arteriosclerosis. In contrast, the "good" HDL cholesterol can protect against vascular calcification.

When do you determine the blood lipid levels?

Blood levels in the blood are determined, among other things, in suspected disorders of the fat metabolism as well as in the success of a fat lowering therapy (for example by diet or medication).

Especially important is the measurement of blood fat, if the doctor wants to estimate the risk of the patient for arteriosclerosis (arteriosclerosis). Above all, an increase in LDL leads to reactions in the vessel walls, which ultimately lead to arteriosclerotic deposits (plaques) on the inner walls of the vessels.

Guideline values ​​for blood lipid levels

So that the doctor can determine the blood lipid levels, he takes blood samples. As fat enters the bloodstream through ingestion of food, the blood should be taken on an empty stomach. It is ideal if you have not eaten anything for eight to twelve hours and have at most been drinking water or unsweetened tea. For healthy adults without risk factors for vascular calcifications the following guideline values ​​apply (children have different guideline values):

blood lipids



<160 mg / dl


Women: 45 - 65 mg / dl

Men: 35 - 55 mg / dl

total cholesterol

before the age of 19: <170 mg / dl

20-29 years: <200 mg / dl

30th - 40th year: <220 mg / dl

after the age of 40: <240 mg / dl


<150-200 mg / dl


<30 mg / dl

From these values, the physician can additionally calculate the ratio between the "bad" LDL cholesterol and the "good" HDL cholesterol. This LDL / HDL quotient is called the atherosclerosis risk index. A result below two means a low, and over four mean a high risk for vascular damage.

When are the blood lipid levels too low?

Only in rare cases are blood lipids lowered. Among the causes include malnutrition and hyperthyroidism. Cholesterol-lowering drugs, acute hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, septic shock and inflammatory bowel disease can also lower blood lipid levels.

When are the blood lipid levels too high?

If the blood lipid levels are too high, this is called hyperlipidemia. The cause can be a lipid metabolism disorder. In most cases, an unhealthy lifestylec makes triglycerides, VLDL and LDL too high and HDL low. Not infrequently, lack of exercise, high-sugar and high-fat diet and obesity play a major role.

Also, chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, Cushing's disease, gout and kidney dysfunction can lead to high blood lipid levels. During pregnancy, the levels also increase, but normalize after delivery.

Various medications such as corticosteroids also increase blood fat.

What to do if blood lipids change?

Since low blood lipid levels are only very rare, the therapy is limited to a regular measurement and additional review of the medication.

In contrast, elevated blood lipid levels pose a serious threat to health. The resulting atherosclerosis is considered an important risk factor for heart attack, circulatory disorders in the brain (stroke), in the legs (peripheral arterial disease), in the abdomen and other body regions. Especially in patients with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes mellitus or obesity, the values ​​should be strictly adjusted.

A healthy diet with low saturated fats and enough exercise can lower and normalize levels. If you are overweight, you should lose weight. In addition, alcohol and nicotine should be avoided. If these basic measures do not work, the doctor prescribes medicines such as statins or cholesterol absorption inhibitors. They lower too high Blood lipids.

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