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

Statins Dont Cause Memory Decline in Elderly Adults

Nov 27, 2019

Study offers reassurance about the effects of statins on memory and cognitive function.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Affect Lifespan, Study Finds

Sep 29, 2019
Two or more sodas a day shown to increase risk of death in nearly half a million Europeans.

Consumption of Plant-Based Proteins Could Add Years to Your Life

Sep 17, 2019

Study suggests that we eat plenty of plant-based foods, while limiting red and processed meat.

Not All Plant-Based Foods are Created Equal

Sep 13, 2019
Just because a food is vegetarian does not mean it promotes health and longevity. 

Strict Insurance Policies Reduce Access to Life-Saving Cholesterol Drugs

Aug 16, 2019

Most patients never get the PCSK9 inhibitors they’re prescribed, putting them at increased risk for heart events.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol in Early Adulthood Shape Future Heart Health

Aug 03, 2019
Risk factors in early adulthood have long-lasting effects on heart health as we age.

Decades of Health Gains Lost After Cutbacks in Low-Income, Rural Maine

Jul 07, 2019

Study suggests continued health programming is needed to reduce health disparities in low-income communities.

Cholesterol Disorder Overlooked in Many Young Heart Attack Patients

Jun 19, 2019

Familial hypercholesterolemia is overlooked and undertreated.

CardioSmart News

Study Supports Limiting Eggs and Cholesterol Intake for a Healthier Heart

Apr 17, 2019
Higher consumption of eggs and cholesterol is linked to increased risk for heart disease.
CardioSmart News

Fitness is a Strong Predictor of Survival in Adults Over 70

Apr 04, 2019
Traditional risk factors are so common in older people that they become almost meaningless for predicting future health.
CardioSmart News

Imaging Scans for Cancer Provide Useful Information About Heart Health

Mar 28, 2019

Life-saving information about cardiovascular risk is overlooked about half of the time.

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

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.

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.

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.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

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

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.

CardioSmart Benefits

  • Sign up for personalized newsletters
  • Find fact sheets and helpful information
  • Get discussion guides for you and your doctor

Patient Resource