Cholesterol and Lipid Disorders

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Duke endocrinologists and other specialists manage and treat a full range of lipid disorders, including abnormalities in cholesterol, fat, triglycerides (dyslipidemia), and other lipid levels (hyperlipidemia). Our doctors treat highly resistant lipid disorders and develop treatment alternatives for people who cannot take statins, the most common cholesterol-lowering medication. Our goal is to help you manage your lipid disorder and lead a healthier, fuller life.

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Cholesterol and Lipid Disorder Tests

We offer advanced screening and diagnostic services, which are important if you have a family history of lipid disorders. Early screening and detection help your doctors develop a preventive plan to better manage risks to your health.

Blood Test for Lipoprotein(a)

This test detects high levels of lipoprotein(a), a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. We also run an analysis for types of “bad” cholesterol.

Brachial Artery Ultrasound

This imaging test measures the strength of blood flow in the brachial artery, the major blood vessel in your upper arm. It helps determine the right treatment to promote healthier arteries.

Brachial Artery Ultrasound

Ultrasound measures blood flow in the brachial artery, the major blood vessel in the upper arm.

Heart CT Scan

By generating images of your coronary arteries, this test identifies calcium deposits and clogged arteries. These deposits indicate where fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances may build up.

Carotid Artery Test

A specialized ultrasound measures the thickness of the inner two layers of your carotid artery. Your doctor uses the results to diagnose carotid artery disease. This test also helps determine your risk for coronary heart disease, which is often caused by abnormal lipoprotein levels or a family history of lipid disorders. 

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Cholesterol and Lipid Disorder Treatments

We develop treatment plans aimed at reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. Depending on your medical history, treatment may start with a smoking cessation program or diabetes management classes before more personalized treatment.

Dietary Counseling

Managing a lipid disorder often involves eating more low-fat foods. Our doctors and nurse practitioners work with you to improve your diet and eating habits. This approach can help you successfully control your cholesterol and fat levels.

Low Glycemic Diet

Sometimes initial changes to your food choices aren’t enough. A diet that emphasizes low-glycemic (carbohydrate) foods and focuses on “good” cholesterol and stable blood sugar levels can lead to a healthier metabolism and weight loss. This diet was developed at the Duke Lipid Clinic, where a team of doctors from across Duke specializes in lipid management.


This common medication lowers cholesterol. It blocks the substance that your body needs to produce cholesterol and helps decrease build-up in your arteries. Statins can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 50%.

PCSK9 Inhibitors

This cholesterol-lowering medication is used if your body cannot tolerate statin medications or if you need additional treatment. These inhibitors are given as injections every two or four weeks and lower “bad” cholesterol by up to 50%.

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Why Choose Duke

Expertise When You Need It
Almost half of our patients come to us because they can’t get treatment elsewhere for statin intolerance. We specialize in developing alternatives for you and have led research to find new strategies for lowering low density lipoproteins, also known as “bad” cholesterol.

Personalized Treatment Plans
Medications are effective at treating lipid disorders, but some of our patients prefer not to take daily medication. We’ll work with you to develop the most effective treatment possible that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

Advancing Lipid Disorder Research
Experts in our Duke Lipid Clinic and Duke Cardiometabolic Prevention South Durham research new ways to advance management of lipid disorders. This work allows our doctors to identify new ways to approach disease and gain access to the most advanced treatments.

Best Hospital for Endocrinology and Diabetes in NC

When it comes to your care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our diabetes and endocrinology program is rated as high performing among the nation's top hospitals, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 07/01/2020 by