High Cholesterol

In addition to adopting heart-healthy habits, some people may need a cholesterol-lowering medication.

Learn about Statins

Trying to lower LDL cholesterol often comes down to making healthier lifestyle choices.

More about High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels through the blood. In and of itself, cholesterol isn’t bad. It actually helps create the outer coating of our cells and aids the body in making vitamin D and certain hormones.

Your body makes the cholesterol it needs. But you also get it in your diet (for example, full-fat dairy products, fried foods and fatty meat). Too much cholesterol can be dangerous. That’s because over time cholesterol and fat can build in the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This can cause a narrowing of the arteries (see atherosclerosis), which is a major cause of heart disease.

If you have high cholesterol, you’re certainly not alone. The good news is that high cholesterol is often preventable and treatable. Adopting a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and, in some cases, taking medication can go a long way to help lower your cholesterol and protect your heart.

Use this condition center to learn more about high cholesterol. You can also chat online with other people like you, keep up with the latest research, and get tips to help your cholesterol in check.

High Cholesterol News & Events

Financial Incentives for Controlling High Cholesterol: Are They Worth It?

Oct 04, 2018

Incentives that encourage better management of high cholesterol appear cost-effective, based on expert models.


Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Helps Prevent Dementia

Aug 27, 2018

French study finds that seven factors related to heart health could reduce risk for dementia and cognitive decline.

Children Should Avoid Diet Drinks, Advise Experts

Aug 15, 2018

Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.

Natural Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Statins

Jul 25, 2018

Natural remedies can complement but not replace cholesterol-lowering drugs, experts explain.

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

Study Highlights Gaps in Screening and Treatment of Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Apr 25, 2018

Only half of patients with a dangerous cholesterol disorder are receiving proper treatment, shows U.S. study.

Breastfeeding May be Protective for Heart Health

Mar 26, 2018
Breastfeeding shows heart health benefits for some mothers, including those with normal blood pressure.

Study Highlights Additional Benefits of Weight Loss Surgery

Feb 06, 2018
Evidence shows that weight loss surgery improves diabetes management and heart health.

Almonds and Dark Chocolate Help Lower Cholesterol

Dec 20, 2017

Study finds that replacing unhealthier foods with almonds and dark chocolate can help lower cholesterol in just one month.

Half of Patients with Ideal Cholesterol Have Underlying Heart Risks

Dec 14, 2017
Many patients with optimal health have dangerous plaque build-up in their arteries.

Moderate Exercise Reduces Risk of Death in Women

Dec 14, 2017
A study of more than 17,000 women links physical activity to a longer, healthier life.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

Dec 12, 2017
Taking medication as directed is critical to improving outcomes.

Comparing Cholesterol-Lowering Medications for High Risk Patients

Nov 14, 2017
It doesn’t matter which type of cholesterol medications are used as long as they lower cholesterol and heart risks.

Insurance Remains a Major Challenge for New Cholesterol Drug

Nov 07, 2017

Study finds less than half of prescriptions for PCSK9 inhibitors are approved by insurance companies.

A New, Improved Method for Cholesterol Tests

Nov 03, 2017

A recent change in calculating non-fasting cholesterol improves accuracy.

Novel Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs are Recommended for High-Risk Patients

Nov 03, 2017

A new class of drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, presents a further treatment option for certain patients at high risk for heart problems.

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Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 31, 2017

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Helps Keep the Mind Intact

Oct 16, 2017
Experts provide simple yet effective strategies for protecting cognitive health as we age.

First-Ever Trial Tests Cholesterol-Lowering Statins in Children with Rare Genetic Disorder

Aug 24, 2017

Statins appear safe and effective in children with a rare condition causing extremely high cholesterol.

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

Aug 17, 2017
A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

New Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

Aug 17, 2017
Refined testing would save health care costs while still detecting serious heart conditions.

Study Supports Statin Use in Children with Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Jul 18, 2017
Children with a genetic disorder that causes abnormally high cholesterol may benefit from statins.

Claims About Side Effects from Statins May be Exaggerated

Jun 28, 2017

Patients are more likely to report side effects when they know they’re taking statins, finds study.

A Healthy Lifestyle Could Add Quality Years to Your Life

Jun 06, 2017
Study finds middle-aged adults with no cardiovascular risk factors live longer, healthier lives.

For More Information

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Cholesterol Hub

Featured Video

LDL – the bad cholesterol. LDL is the cholesterol that gums up your arteries and causes the buildup of blockages. It’s also the cholesterol that is toxic to the lining of your arteries, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Infographic: Cholesterol

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