Dr Pamela Gopal, Associate Consultant from Sengkang Community Hospital (part of SingHealth Community Hospitals), answers your questions about hyperlipidemia, also known as high cholesterol. SingHealth Community Hospitals (SCH) is a member of the SingHealth group. 

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Hyperlipidemia is commonly known as high cholesterol.

The Health Promotion Board recommends the following cholesterol levels as optimal for both men and women.

LIpid Profile
For reporting, HDL level is defined as abnormal if it is <1.0
For reporting, LDL level is defined as abnormal if it is >3.3mmo/L

​Total cholesterol

< 5.2 mmol/L (Desirable)
5.2  6.1 (Borderline High)
≥ 6.2 (High)

​HDL (good) cholesterol

1.0 - 1.5mmol/L (Desirable)
≥ 1.6 (High)

​LDL (bad) cholesterol

< 3.4mmo/L (Desirable)
3.4  4.0mmol/L (Borderline High)
4.1  4.8mmol/L (High)
≥ 4.9 (Very High)

​​Triglycerides (fat in the blood)

​< 2.3 mmol/L (Desirable)
2.3 to 4.4mmol/L (High)
≥ 4.5mmol/L (Very High)

Note: A Lipid Profile will be considered abnormal if any of the lipid tests is borderline high and above.

Hyperlipidemia refers to a condition where there are high levels of cholesterol present in the body. 

Lipids are fatty substances in our blood which perform a variety of essential functions in our body. These roles include the production of hormones, storage of energy and forming the structure of cell membranes.

Excessively high levels of cholesterol can lead to the buildup of fatty deposits along the internal walls of blood vessels, resulting in the blockage of vessels which may then lead to complications such as coronary artery disease or strokes.

However, not all types of cholesterol are bad. 

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) helps remove excess cholesterol from different parts of the body to the liver, and is considered a “good” cholesterol, while 

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides (TG) increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes and are considered ‘bad’ cholesterol.

While a high dietary intake of cholesterol and fat contributes to high cholesterol levels, there are other factors that can play a part too. 

These include factors such as hereditary metabolic disorders, pre-existing obesity and associated illnesses, and a sedentary lifestyle with minimal physical activity.

To improve your cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of developing hyperlipidemia, here are some steps you can take:

  • Adopt a heart-healthy diet e.g. diet high in fruits and vegetables, while reducing intake of saturated and trans-fat.

  • Incorporate physical activity into current lifestyle, aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise weekly.

  • Quit smoking, if you are a smoker

  • Go for regular health screenings

Have questions about hyperlipidemia and cholesterol management? Don't miss this chance to ask our specialist now!

To learn more about cholesterol, LDL and HDL, read this article!

About Dr Pamela Gopal

Dr Pamela Gopal is an Associate Consultant at the Post-Acute & Continuing Care Department of Sengkang Community Hospital (part of SingHealth Community Hospitals). 

She graduated from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in 2011, and attained her Graduate Diploma in Family Medicine and Master of Medicine in Family Medicine in 2016 and 2020 respectively.

In her current role at Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH), Dr Pamela works with a multi-disciplinary team to provide holistic care to inpatients and optimise their medical conditions before their transition back  to the community.

Dr Pamela's clinical interests include clinical informatics, post-graduate education and evidence-based medicine. She believes in advancing healthcare through continuous learning and delivering better patient-centered care through education, and is a mentor to both medical students and post-graduate medical doctors.

Ref: H24