To understand high blood cholesterol, it is important to know more about cholesterol.
Blood is watery and cholesterol is fatty. Just like oil and water, the two do not mix. So, in order to travel in the bloodstream, cholesterol is carried in small packages called lipoproteins (lip-o-PRO-teens). The small packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside. Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body. It is important to have healthy levels of both:
Our bodies need healthy levels of cholesterol to function. Cholesterol is a fatty substance made by the liver and distributed throughout the body. It allows our bodies to make vitamin D and hormones, and makes up bile acids. We also get less than 25 percent of our body’s cholesterol from the foods we eat, especially animal fats.
High cholesterol means you have a lot more cholesterol in your blood than you need. Most people who have high cholesterol don’t have any obvious symptoms. A simple blood test can tell you if you have high cholesterol. If you do have high cholesterol, dietary changes, exercise, and targeted medications can help lower it and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.