Lipid disorders cause levels of the beneficial fatty materials in your blood to become too high or too low. When cholesterol and triglycerides combine with proteins, they form lipoproteins to allow the fatty materials to circulate in blood. Lipoproteins help deliver cholesterol and triglycerides to your cells for energy and to help your body build new cells. When your lipid levels are outside the normal range, your risk rises for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.

The lipoproteins that carry most of the cholesterol are low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which tend to promote heart disease, and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which protect against heart disease.

Diabetes may increase your risk for high LDL and triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are found in lipoproteins called VLDL and chylomicrons, and these can become elevated in people with diabetes, sometimes leading to pancreatitis.

Why UK Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center?

The team at Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center provides expert consultation and ongoing care for patients with prediabetes, diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy and any diabetes-related complications and conditions.

Our center is unique in that we offer care and treatment across the lifespan. Our multidisciplinary health care team includes certified diabetes care and education specialists, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, registered dietitians, pharmacists, and social workers. We have an education center that provides first-class, cutting edge diabetes education in individual and group settings. Appointments are available both in-person and via telehealth.

Our outpatient location at UK HealthCare – Turfland provides a convenient, single location where patients can easily access many of their related health care services. UK HealthCare – Turfland, which offers abundant free parking, is home to many other expert clinical health care providers, including those from primary care, urgent care, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology/MRI, ophthalmology and more.

UK HealthCare’s state-of-the-art electronic health record uses the MyChart patient portal for communication between provider and patient.

How do providers work together to best serve their patients?

  • A multidisciplinary team of providers and diabetes care and education specialists coordinate a specific treatment plan tailored to each patient.
  • A comprehensive medical record network coordinates care among your healthcare team, as well as with local and regional health care facilities. The MyChart portal tool promotes quick and effective communication with our patients. 
  • Pediatric and adult teams housed in the same clinic offers a smooth transition of care as pediatric patients reach adulthood and transfer care to the adult team.

Lipid disorders don’t usually cause symptoms until they lead to a heart attack, stroke or other condition. However, in rare cases, people with extremely high lipids may experience symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal pain caused by an inflammation of the pancreas. 
  • White or gray rings around the cornea, usually occurring in younger people who have high cholesterol.
  • Yellow bumps at the inner corners of the eyes
  • Yellowish fatty skin bumps or creases, which can form from when fatty deposits collect around tendons and joints.


Lipid disorders such as high cholesterol can be inherited. People who have a strong family history of heart disease or of lipid disorders may choose to be screened for high cholesterol and heart disease.

Diet and lifestyle

A diet high in saturated and trans fats can lead to high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol. Other lifestyle factors linked to lipid disorders include smoking, lack of physical activity, being overweight, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and taking certain medications.

Medical conditions

In addition to diabetes, certain health conditions can lead to high cholesterol, including hypothyroidism, liver disease and kidney disease.

Many lipid disorders can be prevented by these healthy lifestyle choices:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking

Left untreated, lipid disorders can cause serious health conditions that occur when plaque in the arteries ruptures and creates a blood clot. This can lead to:

  • Carotid artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Stroke

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