“Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States”.1

Umbrella
What may the Cholesterol Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Bad Cholesterol (LDL)
  • Blood Cholesterol/Serum
  • Good Cholesterol (HDL)
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Lipids
  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol
  • Total Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Definition

What is cholesterol?

DotS the definition of cholesterol may vary.The World Heart Federation’s (WHF) definition is:

“Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in all the body’s cells. It is important to the healthy functioning of our bodies. It is needed to form cell membranes and hormones”.2

The National Heart Foundation of Australia’s (NHFA) definition is:

“Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is carried around the body in the blood. The body produces most cholesterol naturally, and it is found in some foods. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol in the blood. The two main types that carry cholesterol to and from cells are called low density lipoproteins (LDL-C) and high density lipoproteins (HDL-C)”.3

HDL

What is high-density lipoproteins (HDL)?

DotS the definition of HDL may vary. In High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) definition is:

“High-density lipoproteins or HDL is called ‘good’ cholesterol. This is because it gets rid of the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your blood. It takes cholesterol that you don’t need back to the liver. The liver breaks it down so it can be passed out of your body”.4

Non-HDL

What is non-high density liproteins (non-HDL)?

DotS the definition of non-HDL may vary. In High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? the BHF’s definition is:

“Non-high-density lipoproteins or non-HDL is called ‘bad’ cholesterol. This is because when there is too much of it, it can build up inside the walls of the blood vessels. This clogs them up causing narrowing of the arteries which increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke”.5

LDL

What is low-density lipoprotein (LDL)?

DotS the definition of LDL may vary. In High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? the BHF explain:

“You may have also heard ‘bad’ cholesterol being called ‘LDL’ cholesterol. This was previously used as the main measure of bad cholesterol but we now know that other forms of non-HDL cholesterol are also harmful”.6

Triglycerides

What are triglycerides?

Dots the definition of triglycerides may vary. In Blood Cholesterol the NHFA explain:

“Triglycerides are another form of fat in the blood that can also raise the risk of heart disease. High triglycerides are often associated with low HDL cholesterol increasing risk, even though total cholesterol levels in the blood appear normal”.7

High Cholesterol

What is high cholesterol?

DotS the definition of high cholesterol may vary. In High Cholesterol the (United States) National Heart Lung Blood Institute’s definition is:

“High blood cholesterol is a condition that causes the levels of certain bad fats, or lipids, to be too high in the blood”.8

Symptoms

What are symptoms of high cholesterol?

In Cholesterol the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note:

“High cholesterol has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have it is to get your cholesterol checked”.9

Cause

What causes high cholesterol?

In High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Causes High Cholesterol? the BHF explain:

“Anyone can get high cholesterol, and it can be caused by many different things. Some things you can control like lifestyle habits, others you can’t. As long as you take care of the things you can control, you’ll help lower your risk. Things that cause high cholesterol you can control:

  • Eating too much saturated fat
  • Not being active enough
  • Having too much body fat especially around your middle…
Smoking can lead to high cholesterol levels, and the build-up of tar it causes in your arteries makes it easier for cholesterol to stick to your artery walls. If you are overweight or have diabetes, you are at greater risk of having high cholesterol”.10

Common or Not

How common is high cholesterol?

According to the CDC:

“Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high cholesterol. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States”.11

Heart Disease, Heart Attack and Stroke

Is there an association between heart disease, heart attack and stroke and cholesterol?

CholesterolIn Control Your Cholesterol: Why Cholesterol Matters the (United States) American Heart Association (AHA) explain:

“High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. If you have other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes, your risk increases even more”.12

Prevention

How may high cholesterol be prevented?

In Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia): Know Your Numbers. And What To Do About Them. the AHA elaborate on:

“Lifestyle changes you may be asked to make are:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet…
  • Becoming more physically active…
  • Quitting smoking…
  • Losing weight…”.13

Sources of Cholesterol

What are sources of cholesterol?

In Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: Blood Lipids (Fats) As A Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease the WHF explain:

Cholesterol“The human body makes cholesterol and we also consume it when we eat animals and animal derived food like milk and cheese. We can also make cholesterol from foods that do not contain cholesterol such as coconut fat, palm oil and trans fats, often used in foods such as french fries, cakes and cookies”.14

Know Your Numbers

Is knowing your numbers important?

Yes. In Know Your Numbers? They Could Just Save Your Life: Start By Knowing Your Numbers Go Red for Women explain:

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why knowing your risk is critical to preventing cardiovascular disease. And knowing your risk starts with knowing your numbers. Talk to your healthcare provider today to learn about your Blood Pressure, Total Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and BMI (Body Mass Index). Your heart depends on it.”15

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have high cholesterol or I have a family history of high cholesterol?

If you think you have high cholesterol or you have a family history of high cholesterol it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidema): Know Your Numbers. And What To Do About Them. the AHA explain:

“The good news is, high cholesterol can be lowered, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. If you’re an adult 20 or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as necessary”.16

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Cholesterol?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Cholesterol?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Cholesterol. Page Last Reviewed: 21 February 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/index.htm Accessed: 07 March 2020
  2. Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: Blood Lipids (Fats) As A Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease. 30 May 2017. World Heart Foundation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/risk-factors/ Accessed: 07 March 2020
  3. Blood Cholesterol. National Heart Foundation of Australia https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/blood-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  4. High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  5. High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  6. High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Are the Types of Cholesterol? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  7. Blood Cholesterol. National Heart Foundation of Australia https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/blood-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  8. High Blood Cholesterol. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  9. Cholesterol. Page Last Reviewed: 18 January 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/index.htm Accessed: 07 March 2020
  10. High Cholesterol – Causes, Symptoms & Treatments: What Causes High Cholesterol? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/risk-factors/high-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  11. Cholesterol. Page Last Reviewed: 21 February 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/index.htm Accessed: 07 March 2020
  12. Control Your Cholesterol: Why Cholesterol Matters. Last Reviewed 30 April 2017. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol Accessed: 07 March 2020
  13. Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia). Know Your Numbers. And What To Do About Them. Last Reviewed: 30 April 2017. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001215_Article.jsp Accessed: 07 March 2020
  14. Risk Factors: Cardiovascular Risk Factors – Modifiable Risk Factors: Blood Lipids (Fats) As A Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease. 30 May 2017. World Heart Foundation https://www.world-heart-federation.org/resources/risk-factors/ Accessed: 07 March 2020
  15. Know Your Numbers? They Could Just Save Your Life: Start By Knowing Your Numbers. Go Red for Women https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/know-your-risk/know-your-numbers Accessed: 07 March 2020
  16. Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia). Know Your Numbers. And What To Do About Them. Last Reviewed: 30 April 2017. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001215_Article.jsp Accessed: 07 March 2020
Topic Last Updated: 22 April 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 07 March 2020
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