If your doctor has told you that your cholesterol is high, you probably have some questions: What is cholesterol anyway? How did mine get too high? How dangerous is it really? It may be hard to believe that high cholesterol is a problem at all, much less a potentially serious problem, because you may not have symptoms. Many people who have high cholesterol have it for years with no symptoms. Meanwhile, it can slowly, steadily damage your blood vessels. Eventually this damage may cause symptoms. Whether you have symptoms or not, damage to your blood vessels puts you at risk for peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Here is what some people have said about having high cholesterol.
"My cholesterol level was frightening, very high. Much higher than it is now with the medication that I take each evening. Now it's down to 171 to 179. Of course you have to do exercise, pull away from the table, and stay away from all fast food." Jacques
"What has been a motivation to me is simply just wanting to live. You know, enjoying life and having a family. Those have been the things that have been instrumental inside of me wanting to make certain changes." Darnell
"It's important to keep my cholesterol down because I know I can get a heart attack." Thelma
The good news is that you and your healthcare team can treat your high cholesterol - possibly with diet and exercise alone. This can reduce your risk for heart disease and other cholesterol-related health problems. To take an active role in controlling your cholesterol, first you need to know what cholesterol is and how it gets into your body.