High Cholesterol

Many don't know they have this major risk factor for heart disease.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn 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. It will affect roughly half of all men and a third of all women at some point in their lives. 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

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

Jun 24, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

E-cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit

Jun 23, 2014
E-cigarettes are as effective as the patch in helping smokers quit, finds study.

Heart Events Worsen Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Jun 23, 2014

Study highlights importance of heart disease prevention for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Statin Use Hampers Physical Activity in Older Men

Jun 23, 2014

Side effects from cholesterol-lowering statins discourage physical activity among older men, finds study.

Are Diet Drinks on Par with Water for Losing Weight?

Jun 13, 2014
According to a new study, diet beverages could help people lose more weight than drinking water alone.

Phone-Based Support Helps Heart Patients with Depression

Jun 12, 2014
Researchers develop simple, cost-effective treatment for heart patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Spirit of the Heart in South Bronx, NY

Jun 07, 2014
Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Web-Based Program Helps Patients Improve Heart Health

Jun 05, 2014
Not only do Web-based programs help patients lower risk for heart disease, they’re more affordable than traditional counseling, according to study.

Worldwide Obesity Rates 'Startling'

May 30, 2014
Major study finds obesity rates have increased dramatically in all corners of the world over last three decades.

NIH Engages Women in Medical Research

May 29, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has unveiled new policies that will engage women in all phases of medical research.

Reducing Salt Intake, Nationwide

May 22, 2014
Experts identify ways to reduce salt consumption and improve heart health in the United States.

'Exercise Snacking': The Latest Health Trend?

May 14, 2014
Adding small bursts of exercise before meals could bring big health benefits, finds study.

Growing Use of ICDs to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death

May 09, 2014
More patients may be eligible to receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators, according to a scientific statement released by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and American Heart Association.

Do Cholesterol Meds Excuse Poor Eating Habits?

May 06, 2014
Statin use gives patients a false sense of security when it comes to diet, study shows.

The New Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines: Heart Disease and Strokes Matter

May 01, 2014
Doctors and researchers do not all agree on who should take statins, and the debate boils down to the importance of preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Finding Your Energy Balance

Apr 25, 2014
When it comes to our well-being, it's important to consider how much we put into our bodies and what we need in order to stay healthy.

Some Physical Activity is Better Than None

Apr 24, 2014
Adults engaging in any level of regular physical activity have lower risk of death compared to those who get no exercise, according to research.
CardioSmart News

New Class of Drugs Helps Lower Cholesterol

Apr 16, 2014
New drug, evolocumab, may help dramatically lower “bad” cholesterol levels, according to multiple research trials.
CardioSmart News

Stumbling Block in Attempt to Reduce Risk of Complications from Surgery

Apr 15, 2014
Aspirin and blood-pressure lowering medication fail to improve outcomes in surgical patients at risk for heart disease.

Statins May Help Improve Men's Love Lives

Mar 29, 2014

Popular cholesterol-lowering drugs may offer added benefit for men with erectile dysfunction.

New Cholesterol Guidelines Could Mean More People Need Statins

Mar 26, 2014
Study finds 13 million more Americans should be on cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to 2013 cholesterol guidelines.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Permanent Damage to Children's Arteries

Mar 13, 2014
Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood ages arteries later in life, study finds.

Sudden Death in College Athletes: Cause for Concern?

Feb 27, 2014
Ten-year study finds risk of sudden cardiac death among college athletes is actually lower than in the general population.

Improving America's Health through Active Transportation

Feb 26, 2014
Partners unite to promote active transportation across the country with new platform called “Safe Routes to Everywhere.”

Devices in Public Places Restart Hearts

Feb 21, 2014
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help minimally trained bystanders save persons experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Featured Video

Total cholesterol is made up of both HDL ("good" cholesterol) and LDL, the "bad" cholesterol—in addition to triglycerides—that you have to keep low.

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