Cholesterol may be one of those words that you hear a lot but don't really understand. What is it? Where does it come from? Is all cholesterol bad? Your body actually needs cholesterol to function properly. Most of what your body needs is produced by the liver; the rest comes from animal sources. Cholesterol does not come from plants.
There are two different kinds of cholesterol: HDL and LDL. The acronyms refer to the lipoproteins that form around the cholesterol so it can be transported by the body. For the most part, LDL is considered "bad" cholesterol and HDL is "good" cholesterol. The only way the levels in your body can be measured is through a blood test. It's a good idea to have your levels checked every five years; people with heart disease should have their cholesterol checked more often.