The Most Common Causes of High Cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, you’re not alone—so do about 100 million other Americans. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks and it comes from a variety of sources, including your family history and what you eat. Medications can help improve your cholesterol.

Check out the most common causes of high cholesterol!

Your diet 

Eating too much saturated fat (like the kind found in this classic breakfast) can cause high cholesterol. You will find this unhealthy fat in foods that come from animals. Beef, pork, veal, milk, eggs, butter, and cheese contain saturated fat. Packaged foods that contain coconut oil, palm oil, or cocoa butter may have a lot of saturated fat. You will also find saturated fat in stick margarine, vegetable shortening, and most cookies, crackers, chips, and other snacks.

Your weight 

Your beer belly isn’t just bad for your social life. Being overweight may increase triglycerides and decrease HDL, or good cholesterol. Losing that gut can go a long way toward improving your beach bod, too.

Your activity level

Get off that couch and get moving. Lack of physical activity may increase LDL, or bad cholesterol, and decrease HDL, or good cholesterol.

Your age and gender

After you reach age 20, your cholesterol levels naturally begin to rise. In men, cholesterol levels generally level off after age 50. In women, cholesterol levels stay fairly low until menopause, after which they rise to about the same level as in men.

Your overall health 

Don’t skip your annual physical, and be sure to have your doc explain your heart disease risk. Having certain diseases, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, may cause high cholesterol.

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