Cholesterol is an insoluble, fat-like, waxy substance that is naturally produced by the liver. It’s an essential component of many types of cells and hormones. However, some people develop atherosclerosis, or a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries. This is also referred to as uncontrolled high cholesterol, and is caused when there is a surplus of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, in the blood.

Fewer than 29.5 percent of adults with high LDL cholesterol have the condition under control, and less than half of adults who are diagnosed with high LDL cholesterol are actively pursuing treatment to lower their levels. If you believe you’re at risk, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor, get tested, and if diagnosed, pursue the recommended treatment. In the meantime, making conscious, healthy food choices and getting plenty of exercise can help reduce your likelihood of developing uncontrolled high cholesterol.