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Cholesterol Lowering Medications

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that the body needs to function normally. Cholesterol is naturally present in cell membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.

Your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that assist in digesting fat. The cholesterol in the blood comes from two sources: 1) the foods a person eats, 2) the liver. However, the liver makes enough cholesterol to satisfy the body's needs. It takes only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs. If an individual has too much cholesterol in their bloodstream, the excess may be deposited in arteries, including the coronary (heart) arteries, where it contributes to the narrowing and blockages that cause the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

What causes high cholesterol?

Several drugs and diseases can bring about high cholesterol, but for most people, a high-fat diet, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or inherited risk factors are the main causes.

Risks of high cholesterol

If a person has too much cholesterol in their bloodstream, the excess may be deposited in arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis (commonly called hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosis may contribute to:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2015

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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).

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