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

Poor Diet Negatively Impacts Sleep Patterns in Middle-School Children

May 23, 2013
Among children, a link found between diet and sleep may be the key to promoting better heart health as adults.

Smokeless Tobacco Trends in Adolescents

May 16, 2013
Smokeless tobacco use remains unchanged between 2000 and 2011 among middle and high school students.

Pets May Boost Heart Health

May 15, 2013
After a comprehensive review of existing research, experts acknowledge an association between pet ownership and reduced cardiovascular risk.

Fiber Reduces Stroke Risk

May 08, 2013
Study shows increasing dietary fiber intake could drastically reduce risk for stroke.

Understanding the Tobacco Control Act

May 02, 2013

A review of the law that helps protect the public against health problems caused by tobacco use.

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Apr 26, 2013
Increasing minority participation in clinical trials can help ensure effectiveness and safety of drugs and devices for all Americans.

Binge Drinking Harms the Heart

Apr 23, 2013
A study highlights the negative impact that excessive drinking can have on the heart—even in young, healthy individuals.

Diabetes During Pregnancy Increases Cardiovascular Risk Later in Life

Apr 19, 2013
Women with high blood sugar levels during pregnancy are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome.

Save Money with These Prescription Drug Secrets

Apr 16, 2013

Following these tips and shopping around could help you save $100 or more a month depending on the drug.

Witnessing CPR Helps Reassure Family Members, Provides Closure

Apr 15, 2013

Researchers find that family members who observed CPR on their loved ones are significantly less likely to have post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. 

CardioSmart News

In High Doses, Niacin Causes More Harm than Good

Mar 27, 2013
Commonly used to treat high cholesterol, the B vitamin can cause serious side effects and complications.

Despite Lifesaving Benefits, Fewer Women Than Men Get Cardiac Rehab

Mar 09, 2013
Women with coronary artery disease can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of dying from heart disease by attending cardiac rehabilitation.

Southern Diet Explains the 'Stroke Belt'

Mar 06, 2013
A new study finds that a Southern-style diet filled with fried foods, processed meats and sugary drinks can increase stroke risk.

Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Impact Study Results?

Feb 21, 2013
According to a recent study, funding sources and conflicts of interest have no impact on the outcome of medical studies and trials.

Baby Boomers Less Healthy Than Previous Generation

Feb 19, 2013
A recent study finds baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, higher levels of disability and lower self-rated health than those born a generation prior.

Calcium Supplements May Increase Cardiovascular Risk in Men

Feb 19, 2013
While more research is needed, new findings show how calcium supplements could affect heart health in men.

CardioSmart Partners with Hospitals for National Heart Health Screening Day

Feb 14, 2013
CardioSmart is collaborating with hospitals nationwide to offer free heart health screenings to local residents.

American College of Cardiology Spotlights Heart Health Through Fashion

Feb 05, 2013
Live stream the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show and participate in other events for this national heart health awareness movement.
Spirit of the Heart

Spirit of the Heart—Helping Improve Your Community's Heart Health

Jan 29, 2013

Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Resources to Help You Compare Treatment Options

Nov 07, 2012
Guidance from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in making health decisions

Foods That Eat Away at LDL Levels

Sep 20, 2011

Study shows certain foods lower “bad” cholesterol 4x more than low-fat items.

FDA Modifies Simvastatin Guidelines to Reduce Risk of Muscle Injury

Jun 15, 2011

FDA advises new patients against taking high-doses of this cholesterol-lowering drug.

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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