Understanding the Causes of High Cholesterol

Besides diet, other causes of high cholesterol are lifestyle, gender and the heritage of the individual.

For some, even maintaining cholesterol at the right levels and being fit and thin will still not prevent the development of high levels of bad cholesterol. Due to heart risk factors besides diet, some people require a very aggressive approach which includes cholesterol lowing medication. We will address this issue as we progress in “30 days to lowering cholesterol.”

Lifestyle issues and high cholesterol:

•When we opt for convenience in eating over nutrition, we are setting ourselves up for problems. Eating fast foods and convenience foods results in eating too many fats and salts, which can raise our bad cholesterol levels.

In addition, a more sedentary lifestyle also contributes to unhealthy levels of cholesterol. If you want to see a graphic representation of this, consider renting the documentary movie “Supersize Me.” This documentary details the attempts of one man to live on fast foods and little exercise alone. The results on his cholesterol and body health in just 30 days are truly frightening.

•A visit to a nutritionist or dietician can help us all better understand eating for the right reasons and for optimal health. It is never too late to start on this path.

•Regular exercise will effectively lower cholesterol and will maintain your body strength to function best. Just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, including walking, each day will lower cholesterol. Exercise does not have to be a large time or money commitment. Simple activities that get you moving and that you enjoy enough to repeat are almost always adequate.

Diet:

•An important consideration in eating is choosing lower fat.

•Buy cooking oils that are unsaturated. Use low fat cooking sprays to replace heavy oils whenever possible. Reduce your overall use of oils even further by using cooking techniques that require little or no oil.

Age and Gender:

•Cholesterol levels increase with age. Women generally have a lower level than men from age 50 to 55. Once a woman starts menopause, the cholesterol level starts to increase.

• While there is not much that you can do about your age, you can make sure that age does not threaten your heart health by sticking to a healthy lifestyle and diet and by getting your cholesterol levels monitored.

Heritage:

•Genetics play a key role in a person’s health and this includes the amount of cholesterol you might have.

•Find out if your family battles with high levels of cholesterol and then bring this to your doctor’s attention right away. If you have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol levels, work harder and start earlier in adopting a healthy lifestyle and eating plan.