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Get Your Cholesterol Checked

The Basics: Overview

It's important to get your cholesterol (“koh-LEHS-tuh-rahl”) checked regularly. Too much cholesterol in your blood can cause a heart attack or a stroke.

The good news is that it’s easy to get your cholesterol checked. If your cholesterol is high, you can take steps to lower it – like eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and taking medicine if your doctor recommends it.

How often do I need to get my cholesterol checked?

The general recommendation is to get your cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. Some people may need to get their cholesterol checked more or less often depending on their risk for developing heart disease. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for you.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance (material) that’s found naturally in your blood. Your body makes cholesterol and uses it to do important things, like making hormones and digesting fatty foods.

You also get cholesterol by eating foods like egg yolks, fatty meats, and regular cheese.

If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up inside your blood vessels and make it hard for blood to flow through them. Over time, this can lead to heart disease and heart attack or stroke.