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What are some risk factors and causes of high cholesterol?

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Quick Answer

Some of the risk factors for high cholesterol include being a menopausal woman, age and a family history of high cholesterol, according to WebMD. Causes of high cholesterol include eating an unhealthy diet, being obese and not getting enough exercise, notes Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Once a woman goes through menopause, her LDL cholesterol goes up, raising her risk for heart disease, states WebMD. Women and men both have a greater risk factor for high cholesterol with age. Once men are 45 or women are 55, the risk of high cholesterol is elevated, which also increases the odds of developing heart disease. If immediate family, including mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, have heart disease, the risk of high cholesterol is also enhanced.

Lifestyle and diet factors affect cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in food contributes to high cholesterol levels. Sugar and trans and saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels. Being overweight can cause an elevation of LDL cholesterol and a decrease in HDL cholesterol. Physical activity and exercise helps lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Genetic makeup may also play a role in the development of high cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic. A person's genetic makeup may prevent cells in the body from removing LDL, or bad cholesterol, which causes the liver to produce excess cholesterol.

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