Risk Factors

You’re more likely to have high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease if you have any of these risk factors:

Smoking:A�Smoking may increase chances of having high cholesterol. Smoking may also lower your level of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol.

Obesity: Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.

Lack of good proteins in diet: Intake of foods that are rich in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will increase your total cholesterol. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products and bakery food can also can raise your cholesterol level.

Skipping daily exercise:A� Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL “good” cholesterol while lowering your LDL “bad” cholesterol. Skipping regular exercise may increase the risk factor.

High blood pressure:A�Increased pressure on your artery walls damages your arteries, which can speed the accumulation of fatty deposits.

Diabetes: High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol.

Family history of heart disease:A�If a parent or sibling developed heart disease before age 55, high cholesterol levels place you at a greater than average risk of developing heart disease.