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Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body uses as a building block to make other substances it needs, like hormones and vitamin D. The cholesterol in your system comes from two sources: your body, which manufactures all the cholesterol it needs, and your diet. While you need a certain amount of cholesterol, too much can be harmful. A cholesterol test, sometimes called a “lipid panel,” will test for your levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances known as lipids. Excess amounts of lipids can increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Lipid levels can be brought into a healthy range through diet, exercise and, if needed, medication.


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