Being stuck in traffic probably doesn't make you think about your heart, but it should. Your heart has arteries, which are like "highways" that help it deliver blood to itself and other organs. When your heart's arteries get clogged with a fat-like substance called cholesterol, blood flow can slow down or stop altogether - causing a serious traffic jam known as a heart attack.
Cholesterol is in your body naturally and a little bit is actually good for you. But too much cholesterol increases your risk of having high blood pressure, heartbeat problems, or a heart attack. It may also lead to other medical conditions, such as stroke, blood sugar problems, and liver problems. Eating foods too high in certain fats, like saturated fat and trans fat, can raise your cholesterol. If you have family members with high cholesterol, that might also put you at risk for problems. Finally, unhealthy behaviors, like smoking and not exercising, may make you more likely to have high cholesterol.
How high is too high?
Learn the cholesterol numbers you need to know to stay heart smart.