Did you know one in three American adults has high cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs it to build cells, but too much can pose a problem. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins:
LDL (low-density lipoprotein)—known as bad cholesterol—makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein)—known as good cholesterol—absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver to be flushed from the body.
Bad cholesterol can be elevated by certain factors, including obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, smoking, excessive alcohol use and family history. High cholesterol usually has no symptoms, so it’s best to have a cholesterol screening every four to six years and discuss lifestyle risks with a doctor.