Lipid Disorders And Cardiovascular Health

Heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events represent the leading cause of death and disability among men and women in western societies. According to the American Heart Association's 2010 At-A-Glance Report, over 831,000 deaths in the United States were caused by heart disease and stroke, substantially more than the approximately 572,000 reported deaths caused by cancer [1]. Cardiovascular disease encompasses many different diseases with patients often suffering from multiple conditions. It is estimated that total global pharmaceutical sales in the cardiovascular segment in 2010 were approximately $116.3 billion [2].

Hypertriglyceridemia refers to a condition in which patients have high levels of triglycerides (fats) in the bloodstream. Triglyceride levels provide important information as a marker associated with the risk for heart disease and stroke, especially when an individual also has low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL-C (often referred to as "good" cholesterol), and elevated levels of LDL-C (often referred to as "bad" cholesterol). It is estimated that over 40 million adults in the United States have elevated triglyceride levels >200mg/dL and approximately 4 million adults in the United States have severe (>500 mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia. In addition, it is estimated that 34 million adults in the United States have elevated triglyceride levels of >150 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL [3]. In aggregate, approximately 70 million adults in the United States have elevated triglyceride levels. It is estimated that the worldwide number is at least three times the level in the United States [4]. In the United States, mean triglyceride levels have risen since 1976 in concert with the growing epidemic of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) [5,6]. In contrast, mean LDL-C levels have receded due to aggressive pharmacologic and dietary therapy [6].

Mixed dyslipidemia refers to a condition in which patients have a combination of two or more lipid abnormalities including elevated triglycerides, low HDL-C, and/or elevated LDL-C. Both hypertriglyceridemia and mixed dyslipidemia are components of a range of lipid disorders collectively referred to as dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia has been linked to atherosclerosis, commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries.

1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2011. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2011
2 Urch Publishing. Cardiovascular Pharmaceutical Market Trends, 2007 to 2010. SKU URC1550232
3 Ford, Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169 (6): 572-578
4 Datamonitor
5 Carroll MD, Lacher DA, Sorlie PD, Cleeman JI, Gordon DJ, Wolz M, Grundy SM,Johnson CL. Trends in serum lipids and lipoproteins of adults, 1960–2002. JAMA.2005; 294: 1773–1781.
6 Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999–2000. JAMA. 2002; 288: 1723–1727.

This page was last updated on July 20, 2012.