We are frequently told managing cholesterol is important – but why? High low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), raises the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or experiencing a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke.

Everyone’s risk of developing high cholesterol increases with age, and some people are born with a genetic tendency to have high cholesterol even from a very young age. Other factors, like diet, exercise and smoking, can also contribute to increased cholesterol in the blood.1

18 million people in the U.S. need additional support managing their cholesterol:

  • 9.6 million not taking medication, primarily due to tolerability concerns about statins.
  • 8.7 million taking medication (statins) and still not meeting their cholesterol-lowering goals.2

Globally, at least one-third of patients stop taking statins within one year of starting.3

High cholesterol can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes, but it often isn’t easy to manage. Changing your diet isn’t easy. Making time to exercise isn’t easy. Meeting your goal for LDL-C isn’t easy – even when you do everything right, sometimes it’s still not enough.

We all know someone struggling with their cholesterol or their cholesterol medicine. If you find yourself struggling with high cholesterol, you’re not alone. Talk to your doctor and see what other options you might have to help lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Visit our patient advocacy page for resources and more information on high LDL-C, familial hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease.

Key terms related to cholesterol:

Show All
Cardiovascular (CV)
Of, relating to, or involving the heart and blood vessels4
Disorders of heart and blood vessels
Cholesterol Fatty substance produced and used by the liver that is needed to produce hormones and digestive acids. An integral component of the surfaces of every cell in the body. The liver gets cholesterol by making it by recycling bile, or from small particles transported in the bloodstream called lipoproteins.6
Common genetic condition that causes high cholesterol. People with FH have a high amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol due to a mutation in a gene that controls how cholesterol is cleared by the body, and can ultimately experience heart attacks and stroke at a younger-than-usual age.7
Extra cholesterol in the blood.8 Also called “high cholesterol.”
Blood fats. Cholesterol is a type of lipid.6
Known as “bad cholesterol.” Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are needed to carry cholesterol within the body but too much LDL can build up in the walls of blood vessels. Medicines to lower cholesterol lower LDL-C.9
The most common treatment for high LDL-C for 20 years. Disrupts cholesterol production in the liver by blocking an enzyme in liver cells, resulting in less cholesterol being released into the blood.10
Collective term for side effects experienced by some people when taking a statin to lower cholesterol. Also referred to as statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS) and statin intolerance.


1. “High Cholesterol.” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800. Accessed April 23, 2021.

2. ZS Associates primary and secondary research, Sep-Oct 2018. Primary research N = 350 healthcare practitioners

3. Ofori-Asenso R, Zoungas S and Liew D. Reinitiation of Statin Therapy After Discontinuation: A Meta-analysis. Mayo Clin Proc. 2018;93:666-668.

4. “cardiovascular.” Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cardiovascular. Accessed April 20, 2021.

5. “About cardiovascular diseases.” WHO. https://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/about_cvd/en/. Accessed April 22, 2021.

6. “What is cholesterol?” Heart UK. https://www.heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol/what-is-cholesterol#:~:text=Cholesterol%20is%20a%20type%20of,lipoproteins%20are%20lipids%20plus%20proteins . Accessed April 23, 2021.

7. “What is familial hypercholesterolemia.” FH Foundation. https://thefhfoundation.org/familial-hypercholesterolemia/what-is-familial-hypercholesterolemia. Accessed April 22, 2021.

8. “hypercholesterolemia.” Mirriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypercholesterolemia. Accessed April 23, 2021.

9.“Cholesterol score.” American Heart Association. https://watchlearnlive.heart.org/index.php?moduleSelect=chlscr. Accessed April 23, 2021.

10. “Cholesterol drugs.” American Heart Association. https://watchlearnlive.heart.org/?moduleSelect=chldrg. Accessed April 23, 2021.