10 Causes of High Cholesterol

Within the human body, there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. On the other hand, too much bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), does the opposite.

When you have a high amount of bad cholesterol within your system, you greatly increase your risk of diseases like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

While many know that a poor diet can lead to an increase in bad cholesterol, there are many other causes that may surprise you…

1. Chronic Stress

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Believe it or not, constant stress in your day-to-day life causes more than just gray hair. In fact, when stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are triggered, your blood sugar levels tend to spike.

As a result, your liver begins to produce a higher amount of cholesterol and triglycerides, eventuating in high cholesterol. That being said, you might want to incorporate some “me time” into your daily routine.

Brace yourself, the next cause of high cholesterol might make you jump out of your seat…

2. Sedentary Activities

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While we’re all guilty of occasionally binge-watching our favorite shows on Netflix, it might not be worth the health risks that come with it. Whether you’re lounging on the couch or sitting at your desk, spending a prolonged amount of time sitting can lead to high cholesterol.

When you live a sedentary lifestyle, an enzyme within your body drastically lowers its ability to turn harmful cholesterol into good cholesterol. In fact, this process drops by an astounding 95%. To prevent this, incorporate frequent breaks or short walks into your day.

The next cause of high cholesterol may cause a major lifestyle change for some…

3. Overconsumption of Alcohol

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If alcohol is your vice, you might want to think twice before pouring another drink. When you consume alcohol, your liver breaks it down so that it can be removed from the body. Each time this process occurs, some of the liver cells die. Not only can alcohol misuse lead to permanent liver damage, but it can also dramatically increase your cholesterol levels within your body.

While cutting out alcohol completely would be ideal, drinking in moderation can help reduce the amount of bad cholesterol within your system.

The next cause of high cholesterol may surprise you…

4. Pregnancy

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When a woman is pregnant, her body undergoes many transformations. While an expanding belly and weight gain are to be expected, what many mothers-to-be don’t expect is a rise in their cholesterol, as it aids in the growth of the fetus.

In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, cholesterol levels can spike up to 50%, but it’s only temporary. If you already had high cholesterol before pregnancy, be sure to monitor your levels with your doctor.

If you have a sweet tooth, the next cause of high cholesterol might be upsetting…

5. Too Much Sugar

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If you’re looking to curb your craving for sweets, you might want to swap out candy for fruit, as too much unhealthy sugar in your diet can dramatically increase your cholesterol. When you consume too much sugar, your liver begins to produce more bad cholesterol and triglycerides, making it important to monitor your intake of sweets.

After reading the next cause of high cholesterol, it might be a good idea to sort through your medicine cabinet…

6. Medications

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Whether you take birth control or antidepressants daily, these medications can have unexpected effects on your cholesterol. If you suspect that your medication is raising your cholesterol, talk to your doctor. Your physician will likely test your cholesterol levels and prescribe new medication if needed.

If you’re experiencing menopause, you might be a victim of high cholesterol…

7. Menopause

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When a woman reaches her 40s or 50s, she’ll often experience menopause. Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycle and is often followed by hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. Besides these side effects, menopause can also cause high cholesterol due to the amount of estrogen in your system.

Your body mass index (BMI) can also put you at risk of high cholesterol, as shown by our next cause…

8. Obesity

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Obesity increases the amount of low-density cholesterol your liver makes, consequently increasing your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Obesity is often caused by eating foods that are too high in saturated fats and cholesterol, as well as not getting enough exercise.

Other lifestyle choices can affect your body’s cholesterol levels, too…

9. Smoking

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If you’re an avid smoker with high cholesterol, it’s likely that the two are linked. High-density cholesterol (the good kind) takes cholesterol away from the artery walls, but when you smoke, low-density cholesterol clings to your artery walls and clogs them up.

You’d be surprised how quickly cholesterol levels drop when you quit smoking. In fact, according to a study done by Biomarker Research, healthier cholesterol can increase by 30% in just three weeks of stopping smoking.

For some, high cholesterol is unavoidable, as it can be hereditary…

10. Inherited High Cholesterol

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Unfortunately, high cholesterol is often passed down through families in the genes. Those with a high cholesterol genetic predisposition don’t have to fall victim to it, though. Focusing on low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat foods, and high fiber can help decrease your cholesterol levels

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