High cholesterol guide

Have you had your cholesterol levels checked lately? High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Cardiovascular disease kills more men and women each year than any other illness.

High blood cholesterol has no warning signs or symptoms. Since people diagnosed with high cholesterol often feel fine, they may not take their condition seriously.

Have your cholesterol levels checked regularly. If your level is high, there are a lot of steps you can take to lower it.

I. Let's Get StartedStep 1: The dangers of high cholesterolStep 2: Types of cholesterolStep 3: What causes high cholesterol?II. Diagnosing High CholesterolStep 4: Symptoms of high cholesterolStep 5: Cholesterol screening and testingIII. Managing Your Cholesterol LevelStep 6: Maintain healthy habitsStep 7: Cholesterol-lowering drugsStep 8: You and your doctor are a team

More Information

Butter, margarine, and cooking oils: What should you use?

Children can have high cholesterol, too!

Drug treatments: Bile acid resins

Drug treatments: Cholesterol absorption inhibitors

Drug treatments: Fibrates

Drug treatments: Nicotinic acid

Drug treatments: Statins

Drug treatments: Using more than one drug

High cholesterol and memory loss


Questions to ask your doctor


AHA/AAP Policy Statement. Dietary recommendations for children and adolescents: a guide for practitioners. Pediatrics. 2006 Feb;117(2):544-559.

Ansell BJ and Walters DD. Reassessment of national cholesterol education program adult treatment panel III guidelines: one year later. American Journal of Cardiology. 2002 Feb;90:524-525.

Eaton CB. Hyperlipidemia. Prim Care Clin Office Pract. 2005;32:1027-1055.

Grundy SM, et al. Implications of recent clinical trials for the national cholesterol education program adult treatment panel III guidelines. Circulation. 2004 July;110:227-239.

Haines CA, et al. Assessment and management of lipid disorders in men. Prim Care Office Pract. 2006;33:93-114.

Krauss RM and Siri PW. Metabolic abnormalities: triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein. Endocrinol Metab Clin N Am. 2003;33:405-415.

Mosca L, Banka CL, Benjamin EJ, et al. Evidence-Based Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women: 2007 Update. Circulation. 2007; Published online before print February 19, 2007.

Rosenson RS. Evidence-based clinical practice: lowering LDL cholesterol reduces risk of ischemic heart disease events. Evidence-based Healthcare: A Scientific Approach to Health Policy. 2004 March;8(1).

The third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (Adult Panel III). Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2002. NIH publications 02-5215.

Vega GL. Management of atherogenic dyslipidemia of the metabolic syndrome: evolving rationale for combined drug therapy. Endocrinol Metab Clin N Am. 2004;33:525-544.


Last reviewed 12/20/2010 by Norma Keller, MD, Assistant Professor, Cardiac and Vascular Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Previously reviewed by Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Asst. Prof. of Med., Harvard Medical School, and Private practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease, Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/10/2008).


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