Cholesterol is a waxy substance found within the fats (lipids) that are transported through your blood. Cholesterol has several important functions within the body. However, high levels of cholesterol can cause serious health issues like heart disease. High levels of cholesterol equates to a total cholesterol over 239 mg, a LDL cholesterol over 100mg, and a HDL cholesterol level below 40mg for men and 50mg for women. Also, you should pay attention to your triglyceride levels because they directly impact your cholesterol levels. Triglyceride levels above 199mg is considered high.
There are many factors that can lead to high cholesterol levels. The following is a list of the most common causes for high cholesterol.
Your diet is probably the most significant factor in whether or not you experience high cholesterol levels. Foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can directly increase the bad cholesterol levels (LDL) within your body. Fried foods, fast food, and processed foods should be seriously limited or altogether eliminated from your diet. Other foods like red meat, animal organs like liver, and egg yolks should be limited to small portions due to their high levels of cholesterol.
There are numerous health issues that stem from being overweight or obese. Many of these issues can be resolved if you were to lose some body fat and get down to a healthy percentage. High levels of body fat can increase your triglyceride levels. Higher triglyceride levels can decrease the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) and increase the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood.
Exercise is important in preventing serious health conditions and to treat many other health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol. Being inactive can not only cause you to become overweight but it can decrease your HDL levels; thus increasing your LDL levels.
Age and Genetics
Age and gender plays a significant role in our cholesterol levels. In men, cholesterol continues to rise naturally between the ages of 20 to 50, which is why you should get checked regularly. For women, cholesterol levels rise after menopause. Additionally, high cholesterol can be passed down through your family. Check to see if anyone in your family has had problems with high cholesterol. Lastly, African Americans have been found to have an increased risk of experiencing high levels of cholesterol.
Unfortunately, there are diseases that can cause your cholesterol levels to rise. Diseases that affect your kidneys and your thyroid can lead to higher cholesterol levels. It’s important to remain under the guidance of a medical professional so that he/she can monitor any changes in your cholesterol levels if you are suffering from a thyroid or kidney disease.
Smoking is not only bad for your lungs, and lead to cancer, but it can also lead to higher levels of cholesterol. Smoking decreases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) within your body.
There are some medications that can cause high levels of cholesterol. Common medications like diuretics and corticosteroids can possibly lead to higher levels of triglycerides in your body, which decreases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).