Causes of High Cholesterol
Although the specific causes of high cholesterol are often unknown, certain factors can increase the risk for developing high cholesterol. Some risk factors can be controlled (such as diet, weight, and physical activity); some cannot (such as age and heredity). These may not cause the condition themselves, but addressing the risk factors that can be controlled can help prevent or control high cholesterol.
Your blood cholesterol level is affected not only by what you eat, but also by how quickly your body makes cholesterol and gets rid of it. In fact, your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, and it is not necessary to take in any additional cholesterol from the foods you eat.
So then how do you get high cholesterol? Most of the time, there is no specific answer to that question. Yet while doctors and scientists do not know the specific high cholesterol causes, they do know certain factors that increase a person's chances for developing high cholesterol. These factors are known as high cholesterol risk factors.
There are certain risk factors for high cholesterol that can be controlled; others a person has no control over. Risk factors that a person can control include:
- Physical activity.
Risk factors that a person cannot control include:
Saturated fat and cholesterol in food you eat make your blood cholesterol level go up. Saturated fat is the main culprit, but cholesterol in food is also a problem. Eating too much saturated fat and cholesterol is the main reason for high levels of cholesterol and a high rate of heart attacks in the United States. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level.
Trans fatty acids (trans fats) are made when vegetable oil is hydrogenated to harden it. Trans fatty acids also raise cholesterol levels.