(HealthDay News) -- High cholesterol usually refers to above-normal levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the so-called "bad cholesterol" that can build up in your arteries and lead to heart disease.

A bad heart may not be the only downside to high cholesterol, however. The Cleveland Clinic says high LDL also increases your risk of:

  • Stroke.
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PAD), which occurs when fatty deposits build up in arteries outside the heart and brain, most often in the legs and feet.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • High blood pressure, since the heart has to work harder to pump blood through clogged arteries.