High Cholesterol Has No Symptoms

High blood cholesterol does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high until it has caused symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Learn more about high cholesterol ›

For Your Heart's Sake, Lower Your Cholesterol

There's a lot of news about cholesterol these days, and with good reason. High cholesterol contributes to heart disease, which kills more Americans than all cancers combined.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that your body – mainly the liver – produces. Cholesterol is used to make some hormones, vitamin D and bile acids, which help to digest fat. Cholesterol also is used to build healthy cell membranes (walls) in the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines and heart. It only takes a small amount of cholesterol to meet all these needs. Your body makes enough; you don’t have to get cholesterol in your diet.

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Is Your Cholesterol Putting Your Heart at Risk?

Over 100 million people have cholesterol levels high enough to increase their heart risk.

Understanding the Lipid Profile Test

A lipid profile is a lab test that measures the amount of certain fats and cholesterol in your blood. High lipid levels can lead to a heart attack or cause your heart disease to worsen. You should have a lipid profile at least once a year.

The LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl, and triglycerides (also “bad”) should be less than 150 mg/dl. The HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be greater than 40 mg/dl.

If you have diabetes and diagnosed cardiac disease or progressive coronary artery disease, your provider may choose a lower LDL goal—less than 70 mg/dl.

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Did You Know?

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Kids who grow quickly as toddlers or teens tend to have lower cholesterol levels as adults, new research says. A 2007 study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health also found that people who become overweight after age 15 are more likely to have higher cholesterol levels.