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Hypercholesterolemia (High Blood Cholesterol): Prevention

Abnormally high levels of cholesterol in the blood.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institutes of Health)

About Prevention of High Blood Cholesterol

Many factors can affect the cholesterol levels in your blood. You can control some factors, but not others.

Factors You Can Control


Cholesterol is found in foods that come from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. Some foods have fats that raise your cholesterol level.

For example, saturated fat raises your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet. Saturated fat is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.

Trans fatty acids (trans fats) raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to harden it. Trans fats are found in some fried and processed foods.

Limiting foods with cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats can help you control your cholesterol levels... Read more about Hypercholesterolemia (High Blood Cholesterol): Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Elucigene FH20 and LIPOchip for the Diagnosis of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia: A Systematic Review and Economic Evaluation

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant genetic condition causing a high risk of coronary heart disease. The prevalence of this disease is about 1 in 500 in the UK, affecting about 120,000 people across the whole of the UK. Current guidelines recommend DNA testing, however, these guidelines are poorly implemented, therefore 102,000 or 85% of this group remain undiagnosed.

Lipid Screening in Childhood and Adolescence for Detection of Familial Hypercholesterolemia: A Systematic Evidence Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force [Internet]

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited disorder of lipoprotein metabolism characterized by highly elevated total cholesterol (TC) concentrations early in life, independent of environmental influences. Around 1 in 200 to 1 in 500 persons in North America and Europe are estimated to have heterozygous FH. When untreated, FH is associated with a high incidence of premature clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Identification and Management of Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) [Internet]

While the NHS in England and Wales has made spectacular progress in improving the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, we now need to work harder to identify those who are at particularly high risk of myocardial infarction.

See all (94)

Summaries for consumers

High cholesterol: Overview

In our feature we look at the difference between “good” and “bad” cholesterol, related medical terms, and what cholesterol levels are considered normal. Also: Find out what other factors influence the development of cardiovascular disease, and how your personal risk can be assessed.

Omega 6 intake to prevent cardiovascular disease

We reviewed randomised controlled trials examining the effect of either increased or decreased omega 6 fatty acids for the primary prevention of CVD in healthy adults or adults at high risk of CVD. Four RCTs met the inclusion criteria for this Cochrane review.

Terms to know

Blood Cholesterol
A type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood. Cholesterol is also found in some foods. The body uses cholesterol to make hormones and build cell walls.
Dietary Cholesterol
A waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver, and found in the blood and in all cells of the body. Cholesterol is important for good health and is needed for making cell walls, tissues, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acid. Cholesterol also comes from eating foods taken from animals such as egg yolks, meat, and whole-milk dairy products.
Dietary Fat
One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products.
High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL Cholesterol)
HDL cholesterol stands for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is a fat found in the blood that takes extra cholesterol from the blood to the liver for removal. Sometimes called "good" cholesterol.
Abnormally high levels of lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides) in the blood.
A fatty, waxy, or oily compound that will not dissolve in water. Lipids are a major part of biological membranes.
Lipid-protein complexes involved in the transportation and metabolism of lipids in the body.
Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)
LDL cholesterol stands for low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; a fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called "bad" cholesterol.
Saturated Fat
A type of dietary fat that can increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is found in meat, poultry skin, butter, lard, shortening, and all milk and dairy products except fat-free versions.
Trans Fat
A type of fat that has certain chemical properties and is usually found in processed foods such as baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, shortening, margarine, and certain vegetable oils. Eating trans fat increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (VLDL cholesterol)
VLDL stands for very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. A form of cholesterol in the blood. High levels may be related to cardiovascular disease.

More about Hypercholesterolemia (High Blood Cholesterol): Prevention

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See Also: Atherosclerosis

Other terms to know: See all 11
Blood Cholesterol, Dietary Cholesterol, Dietary Fat

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