High Cholesterol Level: Causes
Although only about 20% of cholesterol comes directly from the diet, eating a lot of saturated fats is likely to increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood as it may cause your liver to produce increased amounts of bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Hereditary factors can be a major influence in your cholesterol level. Your genes may determine how fast bad cholesterol is made and removed from your bloodstream. Inherited genetic traits may also influence how your body processes the fat in the food you eat.
Approximately 1 in 500 people exhibit an inherited form of high cholesterol known as “familial hypercholesterolemia”. This can often lead to early heart disease.
Anyone who has a male relative who has experienced heart problems before the age of 55, or a female relative who has experienced heart problems before the age of 65 may be at above average risk.
Your exercise regime
A sedentary lifestyle and not getting regular exercise can increase triglycerides and reduce good cholesterol.
Being overweight can increase cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol levels gradually rise as we get older.
Prior to the menopause, women generally have lower cholesterol levels than men. However, post-menopause, women can experience an increase in cholesterol levels.
Your ethnic origin
Men from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and the Caribbean often have low levels of good (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase the risk of heart disease.
Your alcohol consumption
Some studies suggest that alcohol, in small quantities, can be good for you. However, regularly drinking too much alcohol is bad for your health in general and may lead to raised cholesterol levels.
Other medical conditions and medication
Some medical conditions such as poorly controlled diabetes, certain kidney and liver diseases and an under active thyroid gland may cause cholesterol levels to rise.
Certain types of medication, beta-blockers, steroids, some diuretics, may have an effect on your cholesterol level if prescribed.
Cholesterol Level Is Only One Consideration
As you can see from the above, some of the factors which influence cholesterol levels are within your control, whilst there are others which you can do very little about. However, whether or not you subscribe to the theory that cholesterol level is a key factor in determining the risk of developing heart disease, taking action on those factors which are within your control is likely to have very significant benefits on your overall health and enjoyment of life - so it's well worth considering what you can do.
Bear in mind that if you intend to make a major change to your exercise regime you should always consult your doctor and get their advice before you do this.