High cholesterol, by itself, isn't a disease. It is simply a measurement that's used to assess your risk for disease. And certainly not everyone with high cholesterol develops health problems.
On the other hand, studies show that, in general, people with high blood levels of cholesterol are more likely than people with normal or low levels to have some of the cholesterol stick to the inner surfaces of blood vessels, causing coronary-artery disease and atherosclerosis. On the other hand, having very low cholesterol might also be a problem for some people.
Only one type of cholesterol, called low density lipoprotein (LDL for short), ends up on artery walls in any appreciable amounts. In studies, people with high levels of LDL have an increased risk for atherosclerosis. On the other hand, people with high amounts of another type of lipoprotein, high density lipoprotein (HDL), have a reduced risk for atherosclerosis.
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