While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease1. High cholesterol can be inherited, but it's often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable1. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol1.
High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol. Ask your doctor if you should have a cholesterol test. Your doctor may also suggest you have more frequent tests if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure1.
Lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating a healthy diet are the first line of defense against high cholesterol. But, if you've made these important lifestyle changes and your cholesterol levels remain high, your doctor may recommend medication. The specific choice of medication or combination of medications depends on various factors, including your individual risk factors, your age, your current health and possible side effects1.