"If you want to see what it looks like in a solidified form, go get yourself a can of Crisco at the grocery store," says Gregory Dehmer, MD, director of the division of cardiology at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. "If you open up a can of Crisco, its this white, lard-like substance."
How cholesterol can clog arteries
Not all cholesterol is created equal. It's a fatty substance, so cholesterol can't dissolve in the blood to be carried to where it's needed in the body. "Your body is mostly water, and fat and water don't mix," says Dr. Dehmer.
So cholesterol is packaged into proteins that can shuttle the fatty stuff around your body. One is high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or good cholesterol) and another is low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad cholesterol).
What's the difference? LDL can stick to the smooth lining of the blood vessels, where it is absorbed. HDL appears to do the oppositeit actually mops up excess cholesterol and removes it from the blood vessels.