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How does high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) affect me?

Dean G. Karalis, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

High cholesterol itself usually causes no symptoms but can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.  Most often when total cholesterol is high, levels of LDL-cholesterol are high as well.  When this is the case there is a high concentration of LDL-cholesterol particles that circulate in the blood stream and can penetrate the lining of blood vessels leading to plaque formation.  This can lead to heart attacks, heart failure and death.  When LDL-cholesterol is high if lifestyle changes do not bring the LDL-cholesterol level to goal, lipid-lowering therapy is often needed.  Everyone needs to know their total cholesterol as well as their LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  If they are abnormal the patient needs to work with their health-care professional to improve their lipids and reduce their life-long risk of heart disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.