High cholesterol can come from your body and the foods that you eat. Too much cholesterol in your blood has dangerous side effects. It can cause a plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries resulting in the blockage of blood flow which may cause blood clots.
Knowing if you have high cholesterol can be tricky because it doesn’t have any symptoms. That being said, many people are unaware their cholesterol level is too high. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, “everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years.”
However, not all cholesterol is “bad” cholesterol. There are two types; HDL “good” cholesterol, and LDL “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol aids in forming plaque that blocks your arteries, while HDL the “good” cholesterol works to remove the LDL. According to the American Heart Association, “too much of one type — or not enough of another — can put you at risk for coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke.”
Lifestyle changes are advised for individuals suffering from high cholesterol. You doctor will recommend that you change your diet by limiting the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you consume on a daily basis. He/she may also advise you to exercise and lose weight. If there are not any noticeable changes, your doctor may then choose to prescribe you medication.
The first step to preventing and lowering high cholesterol is understanding the causes of it, here are 6 Causes of High Cholesterol.
1. Poor Diet- If your diet consists of saturated and trans fats you are at risk for high cholesterol. Some foods to eat in moderation include, red meat, baked cookies and some dairy products. If you are suffering from high cholesterol it is advised to limit the amount of saturated fats and cholesterol you consume daily.
2. Your Age- Studies have shown that men ages 35-54 and women 55-64 have the highest cholesterol levels. Therefore, in most cases the older you are the higher your risk for high cholesterol.
3. Your Gender- It has been reported that women are more likely to have high cholesterol than men. “According to a 2010 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic, white females are most likely to experience high cholesterol with a rate nearing 18% (statinusage.com).”
4. Smoking- Smoking cigarettes lowers your HDL “good” cholesterol and puts you at risk for developing high cholesterol, blood clots, heart disease and high blood pressure. According to WebMD, “studies have shown that HDL levels often go up soon after a person quits smoking.”
5. Your Family History- Although not very common, high cholesterol can affect younger individuals. This is usually due to their family history. According to Prevention, familial hypercholesterolemia is a condition that causes high cholesterol levels. It is an inherited form and can be diagnosed by genetic testing and looking into family history. Familial combined hyperlipidemia is another genetic disorder. This hereditary condition usually occurs during teen years and is commonly found in families with high cholesterol.
6. Obesity- Those who suffer from obesity have an increased risk of developing high cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, being obese can raise blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It lowers HDL “good” cholesterol which puts individuals at risk for heart disease and stroke.