​Lipid Disorders

Our blood stream consists of proteins and cholesterol that join together to form fats that are known as lipids or lipoproteins. There are various types of cholesterol, depending on the type of protein that are joined to it:

  • LDL (low density lipoprotein) known as ‘bad’ cholesterol and is a problem if the level is higher than normal

  • VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) known as triglycerides and is also a problem if the level is higher than normal

  • HDL (high density lipoprotein) known as ‘good’ cholesterol

You may have a lipid disorder if your LDL or VLDL levels are very high. These levels will indicate that you have high blood cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol can lead to chest pain, heart attack or stroke, which is why it so important to manage and keep your cholesterol at normal levels. 

Too low cholesterol can also cause problems and increase your risk of:

  • Cancer

  • Depression​

  • Anxiety

  • Preterm birth and low birth weight if your cholesterol is low while you are pregnant​

High cholesterol has no symptoms.

If you have any of the following risk factors, you may consult with our doctors at the Internal Medicine Services​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Overweight

  • Large waist circumference

  • Unhealthy diet

  • Irregular or absence of exercise

  • Diabetes

You can also consult a doctor at the Family Health Services for an annual health check and at this time, your doctor should ask for a routine cholesterol test. 

Your time with the doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Your doctor will ask for a blood test to check your cholesterol levels. 
The results of the test will indicate whether your level of cholesterol is healthy, borderline or alarming.

The following numbers indicate the levels of cholesterol that lie in the defined categories.

Total cholesterol:

  • 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less is considered normal

  • 201 to 240 mg/dL is borderline

  • Higher than 240 mg/dL is considered high

HDL (good cholesterol):

  • 60 mg/dL or higher is good

  • Between 40 and 59 mg/dL is acceptable

  • Less than 40 mg/dL HDL is low

LDL (bad cholesterol):

  • An LDL of less than 100 mg/dL is optimal

  • An LDL of 100 to 129 mg/dL is near-optimal

  • LDL between 130 and 159 mg/dL is borderline high

  • LDL cholesterol between 160 and 189 mg/dL is high

  • An LDL of 190 mg/dL or more is considered very high


If you are diagnosed with having high cholesterol, the first thing you will be asked to do will be to make some lifestyle changes, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet. If after having made these lifestyle changes, your cholesterol level still remains high your doctor may recommend medication.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.