Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Elliot J. RothEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2168


Fats; Lipids


Cholesterol is a naturally occurring lipid found in the bloodstream and in cells throughout the body. It is an important component of cell membranes and some hormones. However, hypercholesterolemia, or high blood concentrations of cholesterol, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Current Knowledge

Cholesterol does not typically exist on its own in the blood; it is transported to and from cells by lipoprotein molecules. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the major carrier of cholesterol. In the presence of high circulating concentrations, LDL-cholesterol gradually builds up in and on the walls of the coronary, cerebrovascular, or peripheral arteries. Together with coagulation factors and platelets, cholesterol deposits on the vessel walls can form thick hard “plaques” which, over time, can occlude the blood vessels in a process called “atherosclerosis.” Therefore, a high level of LDL-cholesterol (usually greater than 160 mg/dL) indicates an...

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References and Readings

  1. Fletcher, B., Berra, K., Ades, P., Braun, L. T., Burke, L. E., Durstine, J. L., et al. (2002). Managing abnormal blood lipids: A collaborative approach. Circulation, 112, 3184–3209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. National Cholesterol Education Program Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). (2002). Third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (adult treatment panel III). Circulation, 106, 3143–3421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationNorthwestern University, Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA