Cholesterol is an important type of fat (lipid) that is made by
the body. It is needed for the body to function. It also is found in foods that
are made from animal products (meat and dairy products).
need cholesterol to function. But excess cholesterol in the blood builds
up in blood vessels and may lead to hardening of the arteries
(atherosclerosis), heart disease, and stroke. People who have diabetes are at
higher risk for atherosclerosis.
There are two main
forms of cholesterol:
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is called "bad
cholesterol." Most efforts to lower cholesterol are aimed at reducing levels of
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is called "good cholesterol."
It can help remove excess cholesterol from the blood vessels.
A person's cholesterol level can be checked with a blood