Hyperlipidemia is high blood level of cholesterol that can cause high heart-attack risk factor. The higher it is, the greater the risks.

However, the two key blood fats, cholesterol and triglycerides, can readily be measured. The doctor can remove a certain amount of blood (following a 12-hour starvation regimen), and have this checked by the pathology department. The normal level is widely said to be: Cholesterol: 3.5-5.2 mmol per litre of blood (130-200 mg per dL, or 100 ml of blood). Triglyceride: 0.10-1.60 mmol per litre of blood (150 mg per 100 ml of blood).

Blood fats are normal constituents of blood, but as the figures climb above these levels, so does the risk. It has been found that many farmers in underdeveloped countries often have cholesterol levels as low as 150 mg per 100 ml – and virtually no heart attacks.

Many trials have been carried out to see the distribution of the cholesterol levels in an average community. The accompanying table graphically illustrates this.

It is quite well established that the greater the national affluence, the higher are the lipid levels. These also tend to increase with advancing years.

Fats are either saturated or unsaturated. The greater the intake of saturated fats, the greater the risk factors. In a diet, the greater the proportion of unsaturated fats, the safer it will be.

Generally speaking, the chief source of fats in the diet comes from red meats and dairy products (about 80 percent). This has a high proportion of saturated fats.

The tables set out the nature of food consumed by an average person each day, and show the content of that food in regard to the principal ingredients, protein, fat and carbohydrate (starches). It also shows the caloric distribution. This is how an average man consuming about 12,600 kJ (3000 calories) a day gains his nutritional intake.