Cholesterol is an important fatlike substance (lipid) that is made in the liver and is necessary for the body to function. It also is found in foods made from animal products (meat and dairy products).
Cells need cholesterol to function. However, excess cholesterol in the blood builds up in blood vessels and may lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart disease, and stroke. People who have diabetes are at higher risk of developing atherosclerosis.
There are two main forms of cholesterol: