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What are the Most Common Causes of Cholesterol?

There are a number of causes of cholesterol in the blood. Some, such as inactivity, obesity, poor, unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise, can have their impact eliminated or at least lessened with a change in lifestyle. Other factors, such as a family history of heart disease or high blood pressure, may need to be controlled by other methods.

Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream, and is made up of different combinations of cholesterol and lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is frequently referred to as bad cholesterol, as it builds up in the walls of arteries and makes them narrow. Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) contains the most triglycerides, or fat molecules. This type of cholesterol is responsible for the buildup of fats in the blood vessels, narrowing them and putting an individual at risk for heart disease. These types of cholesterol are frequently caused by diet, one of the biggest controllable factors of a person's health.

High amounts of saturated fats and high cholesterol content in foods like fatty meats, butter, and many dairy products can drastically impact a person's overall cholesterol levels, and these factors tie in with other causes of cholesterol: obesity and lack of exercise. Obesity can cause a person's bad cholesterol levels to go up and good cholesterol levels to go down, but physical activity can help address this problem. While following a health professional's recommendations for daily exercise not only helps with weight loss, it has also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and raise the good. Diabetes can also impact cholesterol levels in the blood, and is another of the causes of cholesterol that can sometimes be lessened with a lifestyle change. High blood sugar is related to high levels of cholesterol, and can also damage the walls of arteries, giving it a place to collect.

Smoking is another common cause of cholesterol. The chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco damage the walls of blood vessels, and cholesterol builds up in these damaged areas. It also has the potential to have an adverse effect by lowering the good cholesterol.

Some other common causes of cholesterol cannot be eliminated with a change in lifestyle. Gender can impact levels of cholesterol in the body; after a woman goes through menopause, her bad cholesterol level naturally goes up. Age is a factor for both genders. The high cholesterol at-risk age for men is 45 and older, and for women the age is 55 and older. Family history also plays a part. Individuals who have had parents or siblings affected by high cholesterol levels are at an increased risk for developing the same health trends.

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