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What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.

There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein): LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol because it can build up in your arteries and cause them to narrow.

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein): HDL is known as "good" cholesterol because it helps to remove LDL from your arteries.

High cholesterol can develop when you have too much LDL cholesterol in your blood. This can happen if you:

  • Eat too much saturated and trans fat

  • Don't get enough exercise

  • Smoke

  • Have a family history of high cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your levels. You can also lower your cholesterol by making lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Getting regular exercise

  • Quitting smoking

  • Losing weight

If you have high cholesterol, it is important to make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of heart disease. You can also talk to your doctor about taking medication to lower your cholesterol.

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