Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) that is necessary
for our bodies to function. Higher than normal levels of cholesterol in the
blood can cause damage to blood vessels by accumulating in the vessel and
forming plaques that can obstruct or block blood
flow and cause narrowing of the blood vessels. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other factors that increase risk of heart disease are smoking, high blood
pressure, diabetes, being overweight, older age, and having a family member
who had a heart attack at a young age. The May 12, 2004, issue of JAMA includes an article about treating high cholesterol levels in