Causes of High Cholesterol - Know Why Your Lipid Readings Are High

Understanding the causes of high cholesterol is critically important if you are to make the changes that will lower cholesterol levels and thus improve the quality of your life. As a matter of fact, preventing high colesterol in the first place is something we all should be working at.

Heart disease, and a subsequent heart attack, is one of the leading killers of Americans today. When one discovers that they have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, they have lots of questions.

Why do I have high cholesterol? Is it reversible? What can I do to lower my cholesterol? This article will attempt to explain the first question: What are the causes of high cholesterol?

There are many different high cholesterol causes, but they fall into three general categories: medical conditions, genetic predispositions, and lifestyle choices. By far, the most common cause is lifestyle choices, such as the types of foods you eat and the amount of exercise you get. If you are serious about preventing high cholestol, diet and exercise are the most important things to key in to.

Medical Conditions

First, there are a few medical conditions that are causes of high cholesterol, such as an under active thyroid, or kidney and liver diseases. These, however, can quickly be tested and either confirmed or ruled out by your doctor.

The second category of causes of high cholesterol is genetic predispositions. This includes heredity, age, and gender.

Genetic Predispositions

Some families are genetically prone to high cholesterol. If there is a history of high cholesterol in your family history, you may be prone to it too.

Your genes determine how fast low-density lipoproteins (LDL—the “bad” cholesterol) are made and removed from your body. If your body over produces LDLs and is slow to remove them from your bloodstream, it can head to high cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can build-up in your arteries, causing high blood pressure, artery blockages, and ultimately heart attacks.

Your age also affects your cholesterol levels. As both women and men grow older, their cholesterol levels slowly rise. Around ages 60 to 65, cholesterol levels level off and stop increasing. In other words, the older you are, the greater your chance of having high cholesterol level.

Finally, gender affects cholesterol levels. Women generally have lower cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After they reach menopause, usually around age 50, women generally have higher cholesterol levels than men of the same age.

The third and final category of causes of high cholesterol are lifestyle choices. These include physical activity levels, stress levels, diet and weight, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Lifestyle Choices

Diet is probably the largest contributor to this problem. The standard American diet is loaded with saturated fats which the body easily converts to cholesterol. To learn about foods that will lower your cholesterol, see our discussion on using foods to lower your cholesterol.

Physical activity can greatly affect total lipid levels. Regular physical exercise lowers triglycerides and raises high-density lipoproteins (HDL—the “good” cholesterol). While for many, it is difficult to begin an exercise program, when you understand how effective this is at preventing high cholesterol, you may well be motivated. Just remember to make it manageable and do not stress over it.

Linked to exercise is weight. Being overweight may increase your LDL cholesterol levels. Overweight people with high lipid readings are often able to lower their triglycerides and LDLs, and raise HDL levels by a change of diet and losing weight.

Focus on providing your body with the nutrients it needs. This will reduce cravings and improve muscle tone. I use a product called Mineral Suppreme to accomplish this.

Reducing stress is an important way of preventing high cholesterol. Medical studies have found that long-term stress can raise cholesterol levels. This may be due, however, to how people handle stress—for example, smoking or comfort eating of fatty foods may be the causes of high cholesterol, not the stress itself.

Medical research has linked smoking to high cholesterol. Obviously, the more one smokes per day and the longer one smokes, the higher the risk factor for high cholesterol.

Alcohol is a double-edged sword when it comes to cholesterol. Moderate drinking (one or two alcoholic beverages a day) can increase HDL cholesterol levels (remember, this is the "good" cholesterol). On the other hand, drinking too much alcohol (more than one or two per day) can raise triglyceride levels and lead to high blood pressure.

If you are ready to learn how to lower your cholesterol levels without using medication visit our ways to lower cholesterol page.

Have you considered cholesterol lowering supplements? Lipi-Rite is a product that we recommend that has been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol with out the use of medication.

Using this information on the causes of high cholesterol can be the beginning of a healthier way of living for you. These lifestyle changes are the most effective way to reduce lipid levels and extend your lifespan.

There's more than causes of high cholesterol on our What Is Cholesterol page.