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What Is Cholesterol?

The facts about cholesterol

Although you’ve probably heard the word “cholesterol” used many times, you’ve probably wondered, “what is cholesterol?” Cholesterol is a fatty substance, also called a lipid, that's produced by the liver and found in your bloodstream. It's also found in foods high in saturated fat, like fatty meats, egg yolks, shellfish, and whole-milk dairy products. It’s a vital part of the structure and functioning of our cells.

Cholesterol can be harmful to your health when there’s too much of it in your blood. Whether you have high cholesterol may depend on your lifestyle. If you’re wondering what causes high cholesterol, it’s important to understand that eating a lot of fats and not getting enough exercise can cause cholesterol levels to rise. Cholesterol is also, in part, a result of your genetic makeup.

There are three main components doctors evaluate when you have a blood test to check your cholesterol levels. They look at bad (LDL) cholesterol, good (HDL) cholesterol, and another substance called triglycerides. Having the right levels of each is healthy.

Good cholesterol vs Bad cholesterol

There are two main measures of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is considered the "bad" cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is considered the "good" kind of cholesterol. Triglycerides are another fat produced by the liver and also found in food. Like high cholesterol, high triglycerides can be dangerous to your health.

One reason doctors are concerned with lowering high cholesterol is that if left untreated, high levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup that can narrow arteries over time, causing the progressive disease, atherosclerosis.

However, high cholesterol is not the only risk factor that can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries.

If you have high cholesterol plus any of these other health factors, you could be at increased risk for plaque buildup:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Know the right

levels of bad

and good


Learn about good and bad cholesterol



Important Safety Information About CRESTOR Tablets


  • CRESTOR is not right for everyone. Do not take CRESTOR if you are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant; have liver problems; or have had an allergic reaction to CRESTOR
  • Your doctor should do blood tests to check your liver before starting treatment and if you have symptoms of liver problems while taking CRESTOR
  • Call your doctor right away if you:
    • Have unexplained muscle pain or weakness, especially with fever
    • Have muscle problems that do not go away even after your doctor told you to stop taking CRESTOR
    • Feel unusually tired
    • Have loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellowing of skin or eyes
  • These could be signs of rare but serious side effects
  • Elevated blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including CRESTOR
  • Side effects: The most common side effects may include headache, muscle aches, abdominal pain, weakness, and nausea. Memory loss and confusion have also been reported with statins, including CRESTOR
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist about other medicines you are taking

Talk to your doctor about prescription CRESTOR.

Approved Uses for CRESTOR

When diet and exercise alone aren't enough to lower cholesterol, adding CRESTOR can help.

In adults, CRESTOR is prescribed along with diet to lower high cholesterol and to slow plaque buildup in arteries as part of a treatment plan to lower cholesterol to goal.

Prescribing Information with Patient Information  (PDF - 152k) 


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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The information on this Web site should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care professional. If you have any questions about your condition, or if you would like more information about CRESTOR, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Only you and your health care professional can decide if CRESTOR is right for you.