Cholesterol is a soft, fatty substance made by the liver. Cholesterol is also in foods we eat, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy products. High cholesterol levels in the blood speed the blocking of blood vessels (atherosclerosis) which reduces blood flow and leads to heart attack and stroke. Damage to the heart from a heart attack can result in congestive heart failure.

Your doctor will discuss cholesterol with you. Facts to remember are:

  • LDL (low-density lipoproteins), or “lousy” cholesterol, can build up fatty deposits and block arteries. A good LDL range is less than 100 mg/dl
  • HDL (high-density lipoproteins), or “healthy” cholesterol, helps remove bad cholesterol from the body. A good range for HDL is greater than 35, but 45-50mg/dl is better
  • Triglycerides are another form of fat. High levels of triglycerides contribute to high cholesterol levels and heart problems. A good range for triglycerides is less than 150 mg/dl

A good range for total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dl.

Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.