Cholesterol is a molecule that is found in animal cells and body fluids. Cholesterol is not found in plant sources. It is a type of lipid which is a fat or fat-like molecule. Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance. Cholesterol is a special type of lipid that is called a steroid. Steroids are lipids that have a special chemical structure. This structure is made of four rings of carbon atoms. Cholesterol is found especially in animal fats.
Cholesterol is the main steroid synthesized by animals. Other steroids include hormone steroids like cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone. These and other steroid hormones are made by changing the basic chemical structure of cholesterol. This is an example of chemical synthesis.
Hypercholesterolemia means that cholesterol level is too high in the blood. High cholesterol levels show that heart disease may develop.