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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Although people have sworn by garlic's medicinal benefits, new research puts to rest the notion that the herb can reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. A large clinical trial published in a 2007 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found no evidence that garlic worked to lower cholesterol. The study looked at both fresh garlic and garlic supplements.