What Causes High Blood Cholesterol?

    You can control:

    • What you eat.Certain foods have types of fat that raise your cholesterol level.
      • Saturated fat raises your LDL cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet.
      • Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made when vegetable oil is “hydrogenated” to harden it. Trans fatty acids also raise cholesterol levels.
      • Cholesterol is found in foods that come from animal sources, for example, egg yolks, meat, and cheese.
    • Your weight. Being overweight tends to increase your LDL level, lower your HDL level, and increase your total cholesterol level.
    • Your activity. Lack of regular exercise can lead to weight gain and raise your LDL cholesterol level. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and lower your LDL level. It can also help you raise your HDL level.

    You cannot control:

    • Heredity. High blood cholesterol can run in families. An inherited genetic condition (familial hypercholesterolemia) results in very high LDL cholesterol levels. It begins at birth, and results in a heart attack at an early age.
    • Age and sex. Starting at puberty, men have lower levels of HDL than women. As women and men get older, their LDL cholesterol levels rise. Younger women have lower LDL cholesterol levels than men, but after age 55 they have higher levels than men.

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