High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but it's often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.
High cholesterol typically doesn't cause any symptoms. In the vast majority of cases, the only true symptoms it may cause are emergency events. For instance, a heart attack or stroke can result from the damage caused by high cholesterol over time. These events typically don’t occur until high cholesterol leads to the formation of plaque in your arteries.
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. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States. But you can take steps to manage your cholesterol levels and lower your risk.