What Causes High Cholesterol?

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, it is okay because this is actually a fairly common medical condition in the United States (about 100 million Americans have high cholesterol). So, what causes high cholesterol in the first place? This medical condition is the result of a variety of factors, including a person’s family history and their overall diet. Currently, there are a broad range of high cholesterol clinical trials which have provided health care experts with a better understanding of what causes this medical condition.

(For more information on high cholesterol, please visit these pages: High Cholesterol Symptoms and High Cholesterol Medication)


Your diet can have a big impact on your overall cholesterol levels. So, if you tend to consume a significant level of saturated fat (things like eggs and bacon have a good bit of that….), then your LDL cholesterol levels could be up there. Other foods that contain saturated fats include pork, beef, veal, eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. Then again you will also find plenty of saturated fats in vegetable shortening, margarine, and most types of chips, crackers, cookies, and other popular snack items.


As you have probably heard before, the United States has seen a steady increase in the rate of obesity over the course of the last few years. With this rise in obesity has come a steady increase in other medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and others. If you are currently overweight, then you will possess a greater level of fat cells or triglycerides and a lower level of HDL, or good cholesterol. By working to lose some of that extra weight, you could really help to reduce the risk that you will develop high cholesterol which could lead to a number of potentially life threatening medical conditions.

Lack of Exercise

If you are not getting enough regular exercise or just lack any form of activity on a daily basis, then this could have a major impact on your bad cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that a heavily sedentary lifestyle does tend to correlate with a higher level of LDL cholesterol in the patient’s blood. You can significantly curb your risk of high cholesterol by getting even some minor exercise most days of the week. This could really help to keep your body and mind healthy and fit.

Age and Gender

Once a person enters their twenties, their cholesterol levels will begin to increase naturally as they get older. Within men, their cholesterol levels tend to climb until they turn 50, after which time they begin to level off. However, the opposite seems to occur for women, as their cholesterol levels remain relatively low until the start of menopause.

Overall Health

While you may not be excited about it, your annual physical examination can be critical in helping to maintain your overall health, especially as you age. While visiting your doctor, you should ask them to explain what your risk for heart disease is. The presence of other medical conditions, like diabetes and hypothyroidism, mean that your risk of high cholesterol will be greater than the average patient at that age.

Family History

Your family medical history is usually a key indicator of your overall risk for developing high cholesterol during your lifetime. If you are worried about where your cholesterol levels may be at, it may be worth looking into your family’s medical history just to be sure. If you discover that high cholesterol tends to run in your family, then there is a decent chance that you could be dealing with it yourself.

Cigarette Smoking

Research has already shown that smoking cigarettes can lead to a variety of other diseases or complications, such as hypertension or COPD. However, this particular habit could also reduce your overall level of HDL cholesterol (remember that this is considered to be the good cholesterol) too. For people who are interested in quitting, there are smoking cessation studies which could be very beneficial.

Unfortunately, there are a number of different factors which play a role in determining a person’s overall cholesterol levels. By learning what your personal risk factors are, you can make the appropriate steps to keep yourself healthy and even avoid developing high cholesterol.