• What is high cholesterol? Basically, high cholesterol means that the cholesterol level in your bloodstream puts you at an increased risk of developing heart disease. To learn more about high cholesterol levels, see How high is too high? and Setting goals. Where does cholesterol come from? Our liver makes about 80% of the cholesterol that appears in our blood; the rest comes from what we eat.

  • High cholesterol is an important risk factor for heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease are often separated into things that you can't change or get treatment for and things that you can. Things you can't change: age and gender (women older than 55 years and men older than 45 years are ...

  • There are many things that increase your risk of having high cholesterol. But not all risk factors can be changed. What's increasing your risk of high cholesterol?

  • There are several different types of cholesterol: LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein): LDL cholesterol is also known as the "bad cholesterol." When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it builds up on the inside of the blood vessel walls, making it more difficult for blood to flow freely.

  • High cholesterol is usually a "silent disease." It does not normally cause any signs and symptoms that you can feel. A lab test is the main way to detect high cholesterol. For more information on cholesterol testing, see Testing, testing. So what's the problem with high cholesterol? High levels of LDL-C (the "bad cholesterol") and total cholesterol and low levels of HDL-C (the "good cholesterol") in the blood have been linked to atherosclerosis.

  • When it comes to cholesterol, how high is too high? This depends on your risk of heart disease. When deciding what cholesterol levels are right for you and what the treatment plan should be, your doctor will consider a number of factors that affect your risk of heart disease, such as your age, your medical conditions, and whether you smoke.

  • After you have your cholesterol tested, your doctor will probably calculate your overall heart disease risk level. This will help your doctor decide what cholesterol target levels and treatment plan are best for you. You can also calculate your own heart disease risk level using our cholesterol target levels and heart disease risk calculator.

  • The higher your cholesterol, the higher your heart disease risk level. High cholesterol is one of the multiple risk factors for heart disease. By getting your cholesterol under control, you can help reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. Effective treatment saves lives! People at all risk levels should make lifestyle changes such as improved diet and increased exercise to help control their cholesterol.

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