Am I at risk for high cholesterol?

Potato chips
If you regularly eat potato chips, corn chips, buttered popcorn, candy bars and cookies, you could be putting yourself at risk for high cholesterol.
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Anyone can develop high cholesterol, artery-clogging atherosclerosis, or heart disease. But if you have certain risk factors, you may have a much greater chance of developing these conditions.

These statements describe people at increased risk for high cholesterol or heart disease. Read each statement to see if it is true for you, then see the following pages to learn more about how it affects your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.


  • I have a close blood relative - mother, father, sister, brother, or child - who has been diagnosed with high cholesterol or coronary heart disease.
  • I'm a man who is 45 years old or older. Or, I am a woman who is 55 or older or has gone through menopause.
  • I eat more than three eggs per week.
  • I regularly eat whole-milk dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, half-and-half, cream, cheese, sour cream, or butter.
  • I often eat fatty cuts of meat, organ meat, or processed meats, such as ham, bacon, bologna, hot dogs, sausage, liver, kidney, or sweetbread.
  • Snacks such as potato chips, corn chips, buttered popcorn, candy bars, cookies, and cake are a regular part of my diet.
  • I often eat deep-fried and breaded foods, such as fried chicken, fried fish, deep-fried chicken strips, French fries, or onion rings.
  • For breakfast or snacks, I often eat doughnuts, croissants, biscuits, butter rolls, muffins, coffee cake, Danishes, or other pastries.
  • My body mass index (BMI) is 27 or higher.
  • I carry my extra pounds mostly around my waist rather than my hips and thighs.
  • I don't get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least three to five times a week.
  • I smoke or am exposed to secondhand smoke every day.
  • I have diabetes or take medicine to control my blood glucose.