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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > E-H > HEART DISEASE AND STROKE > High Cholesterol


What is Cholesterol?
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 and put you at risk for heart disease and stroke.[1]
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
There are no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol. The only way to detect high cholesterol is to have a simple blood test.
What are the Risk Factors?
High cholesterol is often preventable by reducing your risk. You cannot change certain risk factors such as age or family history. However, you can change the following:
  • unhealthy diet;
  • obesity;
  • physical inactivity; and 
  • management of diabetes. 
If you already have high cholesterol your doctor may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes that can help you.
For more information on high cholesterol, its associated risk factors and how to control your risk, visit the following:

[1] Definition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention