Cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance found in your body and many foods, can build up in your blood vessels, hardening them (a condition called atherosclerosis) and putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Like its sidekick high blood pressure, high cholesterol has no symptoms so you can’t feel your arteries clogging. Make it a habit to get your levels checked regularly. If you’ve been diagnosed with high total cholesterol (defined as 240 mg/dL and above; optimal total cholesterol is lower than 200 mg/dL.), your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes (including getting more exercise), along with cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins, to get your levels back on track.