Cholesterol is a fat (also called a lipid) that your body needs to work properly. Too much bad cholesterol can increase your chance of getting heart disease, stroke, and other problems.
There are many types of cholesterol. The ones talked about most are:
Total cholesterol -- all the cholesterols combined
High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol -- often called "good" cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol -- often called "bad" cholesterol
For many people, abnormal cholesterol levels are partly due to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Lack of exercise
Some health conditions can also lead to abnormal cholesterol, including:
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones
Underactive thyroid gland
Medicines such as certain birth control pills, diuretics (water pills), beta-blockers, and some medicines used to treat depression may also raise cholesterol levels. Several disorders that are passed down through families lead to abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
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