High cholesterol is a common condition. In fact, it's a condition that around 100 million Americans suffer from!
If you're at risk of high cholesterol, you may be wondering about the sources that it comes from. And, well, it goes beyond how often you eat eggs for breakfast and how many people in your family suffer from it...
Read on for the seven biggest causes of high cholesterol that you should know about!
Seven risk factors for high cholesterol
#1: How old you are
After you turn 20, your cholesterol
levels begin to rise. Don’t worry – this is completely natural! Women unusually maintain fairly low cholesterol levels until after they reach menopause. In men, their levels usually level off after age 50. After menopause, women’s cholesterol levels may rise to about the same level as in men over 50.
#2: How much you weigh
That beer belly of yours? Yeah, it’s bad for more than just your self esteem! Being overweight
or obese reduces your HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and increases triglycerides, putting you at high risk of heart disease
. Losing that tummy can go a long way toward improving your beach body, too!
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#3: You eat lots of saturated fat
What you eat plays a huge role in your cholesterol levels. Foods that are high in saturated fat
– the kind that’s found in a classic breakfast of bacon and eggs – can drive your cholesterol levels through the roof!
You should take care not to eat too many animal products such as beef, pork, veal, butter, milk and cheese as they all pack enough saturated fat to negatively affect your cholesterol. Processed foods are even worse when it comes to saturated fat content –I’m talking about all your favourite treats, including chips, crackers and biscuits.
Being a couch potato isn’t only bad for your weight – it can take a toll on your cholesterol, too! Get off the couch and get moving – if you don’t exercise
, reduce your HDL cholesterol and increase your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
#5: Whether or not you smoke
Come on, you already know this, don’t you? Smoking doesn’t only lower your good cholesterol, but also puts you at increased risk of certain cancers and can even kill you! Isn’t that enough reason to quit smoking?
#6: Your family history
While family history certainly isn’t the only risk factor when it comes to high cholesterol, it still is one that you should take seriously. If your family members are on statins due to high cholesterol, you should stop eating high-cholesterol foods and start exercising to cut your risk as much as possible.
#7: You suffer from other health problems
If you have other health problems, such as diabetes
or hypothyroidism, you’re at heightened risk for high cholesterol. In this case, you should never skip your annual physical exam. You should also ask your doctor to explain your heart disease
And there you have it – the seven most common causes of high cholesterol.