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Patient Education: Diseases Conditions Treatments & Procedures

Cholesterol, high blood

Introduction

Cholesterol is found in every cell in your body. This fat-like substance is an important component of cell membranes and a building block in the formation of some hormones. But your body makes all the cholesterol it needs.

When there's too much cholesterol in your blood, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.

High blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is largely preventable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle changes can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol. Sometimes medication is required as well.