High Cholesterol

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

Martha Gulati, 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

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.

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Previously unpublished findings question the benefit of replacing saturated fats to lower cholesterol.

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.

Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Reduces Risk for Kidney Disease

May 31, 2016
A simple set of guidelines for preventing heart disease may protect against chronic kidney disease, finds study.
CardioSmart News

Recent Study Supports Statins to Prevent Heart Disease

May 24, 2016

A large international trial finds statins to be most effective for heart disease prevention.

CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

Coronary Artery Calcium Scans Help Refine Treatment Decisions

May 03, 2016

Landmark research demonstrates the benefits of using CAC tests when appropriate.

More Younger Adults Should Take Statins, Finds Study

May 01, 2016

Increased statin use could prevent heart events for over a quarter of a million people.

Cholesterol-Lowering Statins Reduce Risk of Death Even Years After Use

Mar 08, 2016
Study illustrates the lifelong benefits of statin use.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Cardiac Rehab is Lifesaving for Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2016

Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

Heart Disease Remains Top Killer in the United States

Jan 10, 2016

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths, highlighting an urgent need for prevention and treatment.

Negative Press for Statins Discourages Patients from Taking Their Meds

Dec 11, 2015

Not taking cholesterol-lowering statins as prescribed means higher risk for heart attack and death.

CardioSmart's Heart Forum on Managing Cholesterol

Dec 04, 2015

Join the CardioSmart Team on Dec. 15 at 12:00 p.m. ET for a free online webinar on managing cholesterol.

Click to Register Now!

Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

Nov 19, 2015
Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

Nov 19, 2015

A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

Non-statin Cholesterol Therapy Declining Among Older Adults

Oct 27, 2015

Fewer older adults are on non-statin lipid therapy due to concerns raised by recent clinical trials, finds study.

Managing Your Heart Health: Cholesterol event in Charleston, SC

Oct 22, 2015

This program provides educational and peer-support resources on managing and preventing high 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.