Risk Factors for High Cholesterol
There are several risk factors that can contribute to high cholesterol. These include:
Unhealthy Diet: Foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat are known to raise LDL cholesterol. Research shows that saturated and trans fat have a greater effect on LDL cholesterol than actual cholesterol found in foods. In addition, trans fat has also been shown to lower HDL cholesterol. As noted in the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the consumption of dietary cholesterol is no longer considered to have a significant effect on a person's blood cholesterol levels.
Physical Inactivity: By completing 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigourous intensity 3-4 times a week, you could lower your cholesterol levels as well as your blood pressure level.
Overweight/Obesity: Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater has been shown to directly increase the risk of high cholesterol.
Smoking: Smoking damages the walls of the blood vessels, which makes them more prone to accumulating fatty deposits. Furthermore, smoking can also lower HDL cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure: Increased pressure on the artery walls damages the arteries which, like smoking, can damage the blood vessels and make them more prone to the accumulation of fatty deposits.
Diabetes: Chronically high blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol and can also damage the lining of the arteries.
Age: As men and women age, their cholesterol levels tend to rise. Before menopause, women have a lower risk for high cholesterol but after menopause, women and men have more equal risk.
Family history of heart disease: 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.
Heredity: Genes play a role in determining how much cholesterol the body makes. High cholesterol can run in families and there is a complex genetic component to it. Those who are aware of a family history of high cholesterol should see their doctor on a regular basis and adopt a healthy lifestyle.