Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s found in the fats (lipids) in the blood. While the human body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
When high cholesterol is present in the body, one may develop fatty deposits in the blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through the arteries.
One’s heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.
High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol as it has no symptoms.