Risk Factors for Elevated Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a lipid-type, produced by the liver and is important for many physiological functions of the body. The liver also produces two types of proteins to help the fatty cholesterol move through your blood, these lipoproteins are a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is known as the bad cholesterol, raised levels of which is known as high cholesterol. Though high cholesterol level doesn’t cause symptoms, they can cause serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke, if left untreated. There are many factors that can lead to high cholesterol at a young age. This article talks about the important risk factors that can cause elevated cholesterol levels in individuals.

Family History and Age

Genes play an important role in how LDL is made and metabolized in your body and can cause a rare form of inherited cholesterol disease at a young age, resulting in heart problems.

Age is another significant factor affecting cholesterol levels, with the odds against you rising as you get older. With advancing age, our bodies can’t get rid of cholesterol from the blood as effectively as they could when we were younger. Hence, raised cholesterol levels are common among post-menopausal woman and men over the age of 50.

High-fat Diet and Obesity

Eating a diet rich in saturated fats found mainly in animal products such as cheese, fatty meats, etc. can increase your bad cholesterol levels. It is important to obtain optimum nutrition through high-fiber foods such as whole-grains, lean meats, fruits, and veggies. A high-fiber and low-fat diet help increase good cholesterol levels (HDL) while lowering the bad cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.
 Excess body weight increases LDL levels and impairs lipid metabolism, raising your risk of heart disease. Maintaining healthy body weight with optimum nutrition and increased physical exercise can help you manage your cholesterol levels better, lowering your risk of heart disease.

Smoking

Smoking is a damaging habit that can weaken your heart muscles, and decrease levels of good cholesterol in your body. Quitting smoking can lead you to an overall healthy lifestyle, cutting your risk of serious health problems.

A simple blood test can detect high cholesterol; talk to your doctor about cholesterol screening if you have known risk factors. Your doctor will give suitable dietary and lifestyle guidelines to manage your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol at a young age is not common, though your doctor may recommend tests based on your family history and lifestyle risk factors.