As the amount of cholesterol in your blood increases, so does the risk to your health. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in your body’s cells and bloodstream. "Cholesterol is important for cell function," says Prediman K. Shah, MD, director of the Oppenheimer Atherosclerosis Research Center and Atherosclerosis Prevention … There are many reasons why some people have low HDL and others have high HDL. High cholesterol contributes to a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. Lowering your cholesterol is important; increased cholesterol levels lead to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is because cholesterol production in the body an extremely complex process, and places burden on the liver ( 2 ). Controlling your blood pressure, managing cholesterol and diabetes, and quitting smoking are important steps to reducing your risk. Although our bodies are capable of producing so much cholesterol on its own, it is still very important to obtain cholesterol from dietary sources. If your risk is very low, you probably won't need a statin, unless your LDL is above 190 mg/dL (4.92 mmol/L). Cholesterol is publicized as an antonym to health. What causes low HDL cholesterol? The most important thing your doctor will keep in mind when thinking about statin treatment is your long-term risk of a heart attack or stroke. According to the American Heart Association, your body makes all the cholesterol you need and circulates it through your bloodstream. An estimated 21 million Americans have diabetes and 284,000 die from it each year, with 65% percent of these deaths related to cardiovascular causes. Lifestyle choices also affect HDL levels. Genes appear to play the most important role by determining how much HDL cholesterol your body makes and the proportion of different subtypes. Good and Bad Cholesteral Cholesterol is divided into a “good” and “bad” portion. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure target levels may help adults with type 2 diabetes to prevent or even reverse hardening of their arteries, according to new research. Cholesterol is found in the structure of all cells in the body. Diet plays an important role in determining your cholesterol levels Regular exercise can help in regulating cholesterol levels The heart is an essential organ of the human body. Your body produces cholesterol naturally, and the rest comes from the food you eat. The higher the HDL cholesterol levels , presumably, the more cholesterol is being removed from where it might otherwise cause damage. Learn more about how health systems can address stroke risk factors and improve the quality of stroke care to reduce stroke deaths. 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