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.
This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.
Incentives that encourage better management of high cholesterol appear cost-effective, based on expert models.
French study finds that seven factors related to heart health could reduce risk for dementia and cognitive decline.
Experts can’t say with certainty that artificially sweetened drinks are safe, based on a recent advisory from the American Heart Association.
Natural remedies can complement but not replace cholesterol-lowering drugs, experts explain.
Only half of patients with a dangerous cholesterol disorder are receiving proper treatment, shows U.S. study.
Study finds that replacing unhealthier foods with almonds and dark chocolate can help lower cholesterol in just one month.
Study finds less than half of prescriptions for PCSK9 inhibitors are approved by insurance companies.
A new class of drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, presents a further treatment option for certain patients at high risk for heart problems.
A recent change in calculating non-fasting cholesterol improves accuracy.
Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!
Statins appear safe and effective in children with a rare condition causing extremely high cholesterol.
Patients are more likely to report side effects when they know they’re taking statins, finds study.
Go to CardioSmart's Cholesterol Hub
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.