Stress and High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is not caused by nervous tension or stress; however, studies on stress and high cholesterol have shown that long-term stress can indirectly raise blood cholesterol levels. For example, some people eat fatty foods when under stress, and high cholesterol can develop as a result. While stress management techniques are not proven to lower cholesterol, they can help reduce the desire to overeat.
If a person is diagnosed with high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia), it doesn't mean that he or she is "too stressed," "too nervous," overanxious, or obsessive. High cholesterol is not caused by nervous tension or being overstressed. In fact, many people who are perfectly calm have high cholesterol.
While stress is not a direct cause of high cholesterol, long-term stress has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels. One way that stress may do this is by affecting your habits. For example, when some people are under stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods. The saturated fat and cholesterol in these foods contribute to higher levels of blood cholesterol.
Stress management techniques do not seem to prevent high cholesterol. However, such techniques may have other benefits, such as making you feel better, helping you to control overeating, and reducing the need for alcohol and cigarettes.
If stress is a major factor in your life, something as simple as spending a small amount of time relaxing every day, even at work, may help you manage stress better. Other things, like yoga, meditation, or getting a massage, can also be helpful. Making time to relax and do the things you enjoy may help you achieve a lower cholesterol level.