High Cholesterol: Frequently Asked Questions
- What is cholesterol?
- Why should I be concerned about cholesterol?
- What's the difference between "good" and "bad" cholesterol?
- How much cholesterol is too much?
- Can I lower my risk for heart disease if I lower my cholesterol?
- What makes my cholesterol levels go up?
- What can I do to lower my cholesterol?
- What medications are used to treat high cholesterol?
- If a product's package reads "low cholesterol" does that mean that the product is low in fat and safe to eat?
- At what age should people begin having their cholesterol checked?
1) What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body and is made by the liver. Cholesterol also is present in foods we eat. People need cholesterol for the body to function normally. Cholesterol is present in the cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.
2) Why Should I Be Concerned About Cholesterol?
Too much cholesterol in your body means that you have an increased risk of getting cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, the cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to your heart. This buildup, which occurs over time, causes less blood and oxygen to get to your heart. This can cause chest pain and heart attacks.
3) What's the Difference between "Good" and "Bad" Cholesterol?
HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. HDL takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. When being tested for high cholesterol, you want a high HDL number and a low LDL number.
Tips to keep it under control.