What causes high total cholesterol?


Quick Answer

Diet, physical activity and weight are possible controllable causes of high total cholesterol. Age and sex, along with heredity, are uncontrollable possible causes, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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Full Answer

Certain foods have saturated fats or trans fats that impact low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein. These foods typically come from animal sources, and it is best to limit intake of foods with cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats, advises the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Those who do not participate in regular physical activity or are overweight are also subject to high cholesterol. Being overweight causes low-density lipoprotein to rise and high-density lipoprotein to fall.

The best way to overcome this dilemma is to begin an exercise regimen, says the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Heredity is an uncontrollable possible cause of high cholesterol. If a parent suffers from high cholesterol, it is possible his offspring will also be subject to the disease. This condition is called familial hypercholesterolemia, which causes high-density lipoprotein to be very high; the condition begins at birth. A person's age and sex also have the potential to cause high levels of cholesterol. As a person ages, his low-density lipoprotein increases. Women over the age of 55 tend to have higher low-density lipoprotein than men.

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