Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center

(801) 507-4701Map5121 S. Cottonwood StreetMurray, UT 84107

Overview of High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that carries digested fat from your liver to parts of your body that need fat for energy and healing. Cholesterol also carries fat to "fat storage sites in your body. Cholesterol travels in the blood in packets of lipoproteins (protein on the outside and fat on the inside). The lipoproteins are in two major forms:

High cholesterol means an HDL level that is too low and/or an LDL level or total blood cholesterol that is too high. By itself, high blood cholesterol doesn't cause any symptoms. This means many people are unaware they have this cardiac risk factor. If you are over the age of 20, you should have your cholesterol levels checked at least once every 5 years.

A total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or less is desirable

Causes and prevention: High cholesterol can be caused by genetic factors (it can run in families) and by diet. You can't change your family's genes, but you can help prevent high cholesterol by:

High Cholesterol In Depth

Learn more about High Cholesterol from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:

Tests and Treatments for High Cholesterol

A simple blood test is used to diagnose high blood cholesterol. This condition is often treated using medication, but healthy eating and an active lifestyle are also important ways to change one's cholesterol levels.

  • Medications

    Lipid medications, also called blood cholesterol lowering agents or antihyperlipidemics, work in different ways. Depending on which one you’re taking, lipid medications can lower your levels of cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides — as well as treat abnormally low levels of HDL cholesterol.

Services and Programs

Services and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for patients with high cholesterol:

  • Cardiology – Diagnosis & Consultation

    Our Cardiology Program focuses on the diagnosis, medical management and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Patients who have never seen a cardiologist often start here to have their symptoms diagnosed.

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