Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood and in your cells. Your liver makes most of the cholesterol in your body. The rest comes from foods you eat. Cholesterol travels in your blood bundled up in packets called lipoproteins.

Cholesterol comes in two forms:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad,” unhealthy kind of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can build up in your arteries and form fatty, waxy deposits called plaques.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good,” healthy kind of cholesterol. It transports excess cholesterol out of your arteries to your liver, which removes it from your body.

effects of cholesterol

Cholesterol itself isn’t bad. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and digestive fluids. Cholesterol also helps your organs function properly.