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Cholesterol Charts
(What the Numbers Mean)

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body. The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help to digest fat. Too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can lead to narrowing of arteries in the body that cause heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.

How Are Cholesterol Levels Checked?

Cholesterol levels are checked by a simple blood test. This test measures total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, andtriglycerides. Your health care practitioner will be able to help you interpret the blood test results to determine if your cholesterol levels are normal or require treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/30/2015

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What causes high cholesterol?

The most common causes of high cholesterol are all related and include a high fat diet, inactivity, and obesity. Less commonly, genetic causes can decrease the ability of the body to metabolize cholesterol or cause the liver to produce too much cholesterol.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

High HDL Cholesterol (Hyperalphalipoproteinemia) »

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is positively associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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