Children, young adults and older Americans can have high cholesterol. Consider getting your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high. Learn about lipid profiles and about food and lifestyle choices that help you reach personal cholesterol goals. How many Americans have high cholesterol? More than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease. What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods. Your body needs cholesterol to function normally and makes all that you need. Too much cholesterol can build up in your arteries. After a while, these deposits narrow your arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. How do you know if your cholesterol is high? High cholesterol usually doesn't have any symptoms. As a result, many people do not know that their cholesterol levels are too high. However, doctors can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol. High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes or if it is not enough, through medications. It's important to check your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Have you had your cholesterol levels checked in a while? Talk to your doctor about getting your cholesterol levels checked.