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

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.

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.

A New, Improved Method for Cholesterol Tests

Nov 03, 2017

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

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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.

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.

New Tool Helps Predict Heart Risks in Patients with Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Apr 13, 2017

New tool to guide treatment in patients with a genetic disorder causing dangerously high cholesterol levels.

CardioSmart News

New Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Shows Promise for Patients with Heart Disease

Mar 28, 2017

PCSK9 inhibitors lower LDL and risk for heart complications, but access to the drug is an issue for many.

Experts Raise Awareness of a New Lipid Disorder

Feb 06, 2017
Treating a lesser-known lipid disorder may help patients reduce risk for heart disease.

Study Casts Doubt on Protective Role of Good Cholesterol

Nov 11, 2016

It’s unlikely that HDL cholesterol is an independent risk factor for heart disease.

Experts Highlight the Importance of Managing Drug Interactions with Statins

Oct 28, 2016

Widespread use of cholesterol-lowering statins brings the issue to light.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

Statins Aren't the Only Option for Lowering Cholesterol

Oct 10, 2016

Other cholesterol lowering therapies—including a heart-healthy diet—can be similarly effective at lowering cholesterol and cardiovascular risk, finds study.

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Task Force Finds Lack of Evidence to Support Childhood Lipid Screenings

Aug 27, 2016

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force maintains that there’s not enough evidence to support universal cholesterol screenings in children.

Despite Statins, Familial Hypercholesterolemia Doubles Risk for Second Heart Attack

Aug 27, 2016

Study authors emphasize screening for the genetic disorder that causes dangerously high cholesterol.

Experts Challenge the Need for Fasting Cholesterol Tests

Jun 17, 2016

Fasting for cholesterol tests may soon be a thing of the past, based on new recommendations.

Heart Disease Prevention Also Wards off Alzheimer's and Dementia

Jun 09, 2016

Simple heart-healthy choices could reduce risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s by 20%, finds study.

A Fresh Look at Saturated Fats, Vegetable Oil and Cholesterol

Jun 09, 2016
Previously unpublished findings question the benefit of replacing saturated fats to lower cholesterol.

Infographic: Managing High Cholesterol

Infographic: Cholesterol

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.

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