Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

High Cholesterol Overview

What is high cholesterol?
A person with high cholesterol has a blood cholesterol level over 240 mg/dl. Cholesterol is a form of fat that is made by the liver and is present in food. The two major forms of cholesterol are LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Although cholesterol is essential for good health, too much LDL cholesterol increases the risk of atherosclerosis. A high HDL level is associated with a reduced risk for heart disease, while a high LDL level is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
A high cholesterol level does not cause symptoms. High cholesterol accelerates the process of atherosclerosis, which can cause symptoms of heart disease, stroke or peripheral vascular disease. Rarely, tiny fatty tumors, which contain cholesterol, can form on the skin in those who have high cholesterol.

How does the doctor treat high cholesterol?
In general, the treatment for high cholesterol includes weight reduction, exercise, a low cholesterol diet, a low fat diet, high fiber diet, and vitamin supplements. The most common medication used to treat high cholesterol include statins, which lower serum cholesterol levels.

Continue to High Cholesterol Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed High Cholesterol References
  1. Borghi C, Veronesi M, Bacchelli S, Esposti DD, Cosentino E, Ambrosioni E. Serum cholesterol levels, blood pressure response to stress and incidence of stable hypertension in young subjects with high normal blood pressure. J Hypertens. 2004 Feb;22(2):265-72. [15076183]
  2. Morgan JM, Capuzzi DM. Hypercholesterolemia. The NCEP Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines. Geriatrics. 2003 Aug;58(8):33-8. [12938250]
  3. Schatz IJ, Masaki K, Yano K, Chen R, Rodriguez BL, Curb JD. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001 Aug 4;358(9279):351-5. [11502313]
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