Your body needs cholesterol to function properly, but too much cholesterol can cause health problems. Here are the top five causes of high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a lipid (fatty substance) that circulates in your blood. Cholesterol is needed by the body to maintain healthy cell walls and to produce vitamin D, certain hormones, and bile acids (which aid in fat digestion).
The two main types of cholesterol are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the bad type that can accumulate on the walls of your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease or stroke. HDL cholesterol is the good type that helps clear LDL cholesterol out of your blood and reduces your risk for heart disease or stroke. The term high cholesterol more specifically means a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol.
Here are the top 5 causes of high cholesterol:
Some people are born with a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which is an inherited condition passed down through families that causes people to have high levels of LDL cholesterol. Other people, because of their genetics, are more likely to react to negative lifestyle factors that can raise LDL cholesterol.
2. Improper Diet
Most of the cholesterol found in your body is produced in your liver and only a small part of it comes from dietary cholesterol. As long as you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a genetic predisposition for high cholesterol, dietary cholesterol will most likely have minimal effect on your blood cholesterol level. Saturated fat and trans fat are what you really need to avoid. Your body needs some saturated fat for growth, hormone production and other processes, but too much saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol. Trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.
3. Being Overweight or Obese
Being overweight or obese can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol.
4. Being Physically Inactive
Being physically inactive can increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol.
5. Age and Gender
Cholesterol levels tend to rise with age for both men and women. Prior to menopause, women generally have a lower level of cholesterol than men their age, but after menopause many women experience a substantial increase in LDL cholesterol along with a decrease in HDL cholesterol.
While you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t control your genetics, age or gender, you are in control when it comes to making the lifestyle changes necessary to lower high cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet, losing weight, and exercising regularly will not only lower high cholesterol, it will also reduce the risk for numerous other health problems.