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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on your artery walls. But you can take steps to manage your cholesterol levels and lower your risk.

About 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.1 Only 1 out of every 3 adults with high cholesterol has the condition under control.1 Having high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States. Get more quick facts about high cholesterol.

There are no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol. Getting your cholesterol checked with a simple blood test is the only way you can know if you are at risk for high cholesterol or already have high cholesterol. Knowing your cholesterol level will help your doctor suggest steps for you to take to prevent high cholesterol or to reduce your levels if they are high.

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  1. CDC. Vital signs: prevalence, treatment, and control of high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol—United States, 1999–2002 and 2005–2008. MMWR. 2011;60(4):109–14.


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