Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in every cell in the human body. It’s necessary to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances necessary for digestion. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but it’s also found in many foods. For cholesterol to travel in the blood, the body packages it with proteins and other substances into two main types:
• HDL cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol – often called “good” cholesterol – tends to lower risk of heart disease.
• LDL cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – often called “bad” cholesterol – tends to increase risk of heart disease.
High blood cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (called heart disease in this article), which leads to heart attacks. People are considered to have high cholesterol (also called hypercholesterolemia) when certain levels are exceeded. High cholesterol is not a medical condition itself. There are different opinions about when cholesterol levels are too high. It’s also just one risk factor of many for heart disease.
Signs and Symptoms
High cholesterol does not have any associated symptoms.