Glossary of Terms

Angina (also known as angina pectoris) is the medical term for chest pain due to coronary heart disease.

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of the arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens, and may eventually block the arteries.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the blood and in every one of your body’s cells. Too much cholesterol in the blood can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes mellitus is the inability of the body to produce or properly respond to insulin. Insulin allows the body to use glucose (sugar) as fuel. The two major forms of the disease are juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I) and adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes (Type II).

Fibric acid derivatives (fibrates) are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol. They are useful in lowering triglycerides and raising HDL-cholesterol levels.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol. It takes excess cholesterol back to the liver where it can be excreted.

Hypercholesterolemia is the disease name for high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL-cholesterol can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Lipids are fats.

Lipoproteins are a combination of fats (lipids) and proteins. They carry cholesterol through the blood.

Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle.

Plaque is a deposit of cholesterol and other materials inside the wall of a blood vessel. It can cause the blood vessel to narrow (atherosclerosis) or rupture, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Saturated fat is usually found in animal products such as whole milk, eggs, and meats, and in some plant foods such as coconut or palm oils or hydrogenated oils. It is the main dietary culprit in raising blood cholesterol.

Statins are a class of drugs that are effective for lowering LDL-cholesterol, lowering triglycerides and raising HDL-cholesterol levels and are generally well tolerated. The statins currently available include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin and simvastatin.

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. High triglyceride levels are associated with low HDL-cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.