What are the Risk Factors of High Cholesterol Levels?

Cholesterol is a very waxy substance which is found in the lipids (fats) in the blood. Body needs cholesterol for continuous building of healthy cells. This cholesterol is of two types, good and bad cholesterol. Body requires good cholesterol (HDL) in good amounts and bad cholesterol (LDL) in lower amounts. High amounts of bad cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. In this article there is a brief discussion on the

risk factors of high cholesterol levels

. Let us examine them.

Risk factors of high cholesterol levels:

Increased cholesterol levels are generally due to various factors which include heredity, weight, physical activity exercise, age and sex, alcohol use, mental stress, diet and lifestyle. There are some other less common underlying illnesses and diseases affecting the thyroid, kidney or liver which might affect the cholesterol levels in the blood.


risk factors of high cholesterol levels

are those things which might be changed, but there are some which cannot be changed. It is very important that individuals lower their risk of high cholesterol levels as much as possible.

  • Heredity:

    Genes influence the metabolism of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a condition of an inherited form of increased cholesterol levels which may lead to early cardiovascular disease.

  • Weight:

    Excess body weight can modestly cause an increase in your bad (LDL) cholesterol level. Thus, losing excess weight might lower the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

  • Physical activity exercise:

    Individuals who do less physical activity exercise or regular exercise have a chance of developing increased cholesterol levels. Thus, regular physical activity might raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides.

  • Age and sex:

    Women usually have low levels of total cholesterol than men of same age group, before menopause. As men and women age, there is an increase in the blood cholesterol levels until about 60 to 65 years of age. But, after about 50 years of age, women often have higher levels of total cholesterol than men of same age group.

  • Alcohol use:

    Intake of alcohol at moderate levels (1 to 2 drinks daily) can increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels but it does not lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. But, there is no study whether the use of alcohol also reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular or heart disease. But, drinking too much of alcohol can cause damage to the heart muscle and liver, causing an increase in triglyceride levels and leading to high blood pressure. Because of these risks, alcoholic beverages must not be used as a way to prevent heart disease.

  • Mental stress:

    Several researches and studies have shown that the stress increases the levels of blood cholesterol over a long term. One of the ways that stress might do this is usually by affecting the normal habits in an individual. For example, when individuals are under stress, then they may console themselves by consuming fatty foods. The cholesterol and the saturated fats in these foods may contribute to increase in blood cholesterol levels.

  • Smoking:

    This is another major risk factor of increase in high cholesterol levels.

The above listed are some of the

risk factors of high cholesterol levels

. Thus, individuals must take preventive measures in order to avoid an increase in the cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels may develop deposition of fatty substance on the inner walls of the blood vessels. This reduces the flow of blood and also blocks the arteries, causing heart attack. Reduced flow of blood to the brain causes a stroke. High cholesterol can be inherited, but the condition is often treatable and preventable.

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