High cholesterol often is caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices like a diet high in saturated fats and lack of adequate physical activity. Factors such as obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, aging (arteries tend to narrow with age), genetics, and certain underlying conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney or liver disease also increase the risk of developing this problem.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance present in your blood that is needed for building and maintaining cell membranes, converting sunshine to vitamin D, and other important functions. However, a high level of cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia, is unhealthy and can lead to serious and even fatal health problems. Cholesterol tends to accumulate along artery walls and increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Usually, blood cholesterol levels sould remain below 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter of blood). It is considered borderline high when it is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, and when it increases to 240 or higher mg/dL it is regarded as high cholesterol. Mostly, a test called lipoprotein profile is used to test the cholesterol levels in terms of total cholesterol (the sum of HDL, LDL and VLDL), HDL, LDL and triglycerides.
Of these, HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is considered good because it carries cholesterol to the liver where it can be broken down and reprocessed. Although it is good for that reason, your body needs a certain amount of HDL to perform its function fully. Those with low levels of HDL are considered at higher risk of developing heart disease.