High cholesterol has no symptoms. A blood test is the only way to detect high cholesterol.
When to see a doctor
Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test at age 20 and then have your cholesterol retested at least every five years. If your test results aren't within desirable ranges, your doctor may recommend more frequent measurements. Your doctor may also suggest you have more frequent tests if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure.
Aug. 01, 2015
- Why cholesterol matters. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/WhyCholesterolMatters/Why-Cholesterol-Matters_UCM_001212_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- What is cholesterol? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc/. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Third report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Arsenault BJ, et al. Beyond low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: Respective contributions of non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and the total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio to coronary heart disease risk in apparently healthy men and women. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2009;55:35.
- Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents. Expert Panel on Integrated Guidelines for Cardiovascular Health and Risk Reduction in Children and Adolescents: Summary report. Pediatrics. 2011;128:S213.
- Drug therapy for cholesterol. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Drug-Therapy-for-Cholesterol_UCM_305632_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Creider JC, et al. Niacin: Another look at an underutilized lipid-lowering medication. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 2012;8:517.
- Samuel S, et al. Estimating health and economic benefits from using prescription omega-3 fatty acids in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. American Journal of Cardiology. 2011;108:691.
- Cooking for lower cholesterol. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Cooking-for-Lower-Cholesterol_UCM_305630_Article.jsp. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Huffman KM, et al. Exercise effects on lipids in persons with varying dietary patterns - does diet matter if they exercise? American Heart Journal. 2012;164:117.
- Chapman MJ, et al. Triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease: Evidence and guidance for management. European Heart Journal. 2011;32:1345.
- Natural medicines in clinical management of hyperlipidemia. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Red yeast rice. University of Maryland Medical Center. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/red-yearice-000323.htm. Accessed Dec. 13, 2012.
- Miller M, et al. Triglycerides and cardiovascular disease: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123:2292.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 2, 2014.
- Classification of overweight and obesity by BMI, waist circumference and associated disease risks. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmi_dis.htm. Accessed Oct. 3, 2014.
- What do my cholesterol levels mean? American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300301.pdf. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- What is cholesterol. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. What are the newly released American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines for heart disease prevention (including new guidelines for treatment of cholesterol abnormalities) and what are Mayo's recommendations in response to these new guidelines? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Pitavastatin (prescribing information). Montgomery, Ala.: Kowa Pharmaceuticals America; 2013. http://www.livalorx.com. Accessed Aug. 8, 2014.
- The HPS2-THRIVE Collaborative Group. Effects of extended-release niacin with laropiprant in high-risk patients. New England Journal of Medicine. 2014;371:203.
- FDA approves Praluent to treat certain patients with high cholesterol. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm455883.htm. Accessed July 28, 2015.
- Praluent (prescribing information). Bridgewater, N.J.: Sanofi-Aventis; Tarrytown, N.Y.: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; 2015. http://www.regeneron.com/Praluent/Praluent-fpi.pdf. Accessed July 28, 2015.