Individuals who smoke cigarettes, have a large waist circumference, consume a poor diet, are obese, or do not exercise are most susceptible to hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. Additionally, diabetics are at greater risk for high cholesterol, reports Mayo Clinic.
Smoking damages blood vessels and contributes to the accumulation of fatty deposits, which in turn contribute to high cholesterol. Men with waist sizes in excess of 40 inches and women with sizes in excess of 35 inches have a significantly greater risk for high cholesterol, as do individuals who consume large quantities of red meat and full-dairy products. A body mass index greater than 30, typical of an individual who does not exercise regularly, also increases susceptibility. Diabetes may result in high blood sugars that damage the lining of the arteries and contribute to hypercholesterolemia, states Mayo Clinic.