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Cholesterol and triglycerides: Classification and tests

CPD Hours



Community and primary health care
Anatomy and physiology
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Approximately one third of all adult Australians have a total cholesterol over 4 mmol/L. High total cholesterol is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in Australia. According to the Heart Foundation, one Australian dies every 12 minutes of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of hospital admissions Australia wide and accounts for more than one third of all deaths in Australia. Apart from the personal cost, the rate of cardiovascular disease places a substantial burden on the health care system, accounting for more than 3% of all visits to the general practitioner.

This brief module provides an introduction to cholesterol and triglycerides and the blood tests used for measuring them. It is not intended as a comprehensive analysis of the effect of cholesterol and triglycerides on cardiovascular disease, but rather as an overview of what cholesterol and triglycerides are and what is tested when blood tests are ordered.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Have a broad understanding of what cholesterol and triglycerides are
  • Identify the main classifications for cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Know the normal values for blood lipid levels
  • Identify the common treatment for high blood lipid levels

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