Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to build cells. Cholesterol can come from your liver and from foods derived from animals. For example, meat, poultry, eggs and full-fat dairy products.
Cholesterol circulates in the blood. As the amount of cholesterol in your blood increases, so does the risk to your health. That’s why it’s important to have your cholesterol tested, so you can know your levels.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and HDL cholesterol, which is good. Too much of the bad kind, or not enough of the good kind, increases the risk that cholesterol will slowly build up in the inner walls of the arteries forming plaque. This plaque buildup can cause heart attacks, carotid artery disease, stroke or peripheral artery disease.