What Is High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol is a condition where too much cholesterol is circulating through your body. Although cholesterol is important in performing several biological functions, too much cholesterol could lead to heart disease if not properly addressed.

Risk for Heart Disease

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Cholesterol has an important task in our bodies to carry out a variety of biological processes, but if you have too much of it in the body, it can potentially cause heart disease. The worst problem with high cholesterol is that you usually don't even know you have it, unless you've had your cholesterol recently tested. There are many things to know about this silent, yet potentially deadly, condition. Do you know everything you need to know about high cholesterol?

What Are the Different Types of Lipids in the Blood?

If you've ever taken a close look at your blood test results, you may have noticed that under your total cholesterol results, there are also types of cholesterol and triglycerides listed. Some of these types of cholesterol can be dangerous to your heart if you have too much of it circulating in your body. There, however, is another type of cholesterol that is actually good to have around. Knowing the different types of cholesterol circulating in your body will help you to understand the role that these fats play in your health, as well as to understand your cholesterol test results.

What Causes High Cholesterol?

There are many factors that can place you at risk for having high cholesterol, including your age, certain diseases, diet, and lifestyle. Leading a sedentary lifestyle that consists of high-fat foods and no exercise can contribute to having high cholesterol levels. Additionally, having a family history of high cholesterol, such as a parent or sibling being diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, also places you at risk of having this condition. Knowing your risks for high cholesterol can help you to address—and in some cases, correct—them before they lead to further complications.

Who Is More Susceptible to Having High Cholesterol?

Anyone is at risk of having high cholesterol. You could be the healthiest person in the world, but if you have a family history of high cholesterol, you're at risk for increased cholesterol levels. You could also be the person who has no family history of high cholesterol, but likes to eat fast food at every meal. There is no true predictor of who will get high cholesterol. Studies, however, have shown that African Americans, for example, and certain populations are at higher risk of having high cholesterol and heart disease.

Why Should You Worry About High Cholesterol?

High cholesterol has no symptoms, so that means you don't need to worry about high cholesterol, right? Think again. While high cholesterol is silent, it can potentially result in a variety of health problems, including a heart attack or stroke. Addressing your high cholesterol levels now can help you to avoid complications later on in life.

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