High Cholesterol: Overview
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in every cell in the body and is used to build healthy cells and some vital hormones. High levels of cholesterol in the blood (high blood cholesterol) can be serious because it can cause fatty deposits, called plaque, to build up in arteries, making blood flow more difficult. High blood cholesterol can be secondary to many diseases and can contribute to many forms of disease, most notably cardiovascular disease, or heart disease.
There are usually no signs or symptoms of high blood cholesterol. Many people don't know that their cholesterol level is too high.
Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years. You and your doctor can discuss how often you should be tested.
Reviewed on 12/2012
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