Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. It is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese.

If you have too much it in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque. Plaque sticks to the walls of your arteries. It can lead to coronary artery disease, where your coronary arteries become narrow or even blocked.

Genetics may also cause people to have high cholesterol. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited form of high cholesterol. Other medical conditions and certain medicines may also cause high cholesterol.

There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high cholesterol. There is a blood test to measure its level. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history.

If you have large deposits of plaque in your arteries, an area of plaque can rupture (break open). This can cause a blood clot to form on the surface of the plaque. If the clot becomes large enough, it can mostly or completely block blood flow in a coronary artery.

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack. (

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