Do You Have High Cholesterol? Know This Risk Factors!

Do You Have High Cholesterol Know This Risk Factors!

Have you been recently diagnosed with alarmingly high cholesterol levels? Then better be cautious as you are at higher risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. A survey conducted by the American Heart Association in 2023 shows that 75% of people who survived a heart attack and stroke were found to have high cholesterol. Before delving deep into the various risk factors of cholesterol, let’s first find out what cholesterol is.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is nothing but a waxy, fat-like substance found in your blood. Though it is essential to have cholesterol for good health, excessive amounts of bad kinds of cholesterol pose risks to your health.

What is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol?

LDL cholesterol, generally known as the “bad cholesterol” causes the build-up of fats in arteries leading to atherosclerosis. In turn, it narrows your arteries and you will be at higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. On the other hand, HDL cholesterol, popularly known as the “good cholesterol” in healthy quantities offers protection against heart attack and stroke.

This Risk Factors Of High Cholesterol

Risk factors of cholesterol

There are two types of risk factors associated with cholesterol. They are 1. Uncontrollable risk factors and 2. Controllable risk factors.

Uncontrollable risk factors

First, we will go through the 3 risk factors that are beyond your control.

  • Age – As you age, you stand a higher risk of cholesterol. Studies show that men who are 45 years or older and women who are 55 years and above are more prone to high cholesterol and heart disease. The reason is that as you age, your body will not be able to clear cholesterol from your blood unlike in your younger days.
  • Gender – In the case of females, LDL cholesterol level goes up after their menopause naturally elevating their risk of heart disease. An interesting fact about males is that irrespective of age, they tend to have lower levels of good cholesterol in comparison with women.
  • Family history – Family history poses a big threat if your father or brother had been diagnosed with high cholesterol or early heart disease i.e. before they attained the age of 55. It poses an equal risk if your mother or sister had suffered from an early heart disease (before the age of 65). In such cases, you need to get your cholesterol levels checked often. 

There are also chances that one may inherit familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic condition that leads to high bad cholesterol levels at a young age

Controllable risk factors

The below risk factors are well within your control. Let’s check out what they are.

  • Overweight – When you are overweight, it shoots up your LDL cholesterol level and also brings down the HDL cholesterol. One of the signs that indicate you are overweight is the high blood pressure. Thus, engage in some form of physical activity or exercise so that your weight comes down. 
  • Diet – If you are consuming foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat, it may lead to high cholesterol and associated risk factors such as heart disease. On the safer side, stay away from fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, desserts, and packaged snacks
  • Smoking – If you don’t have the habit of smoking, it’s better not to start it. When you smoke, it damages your blood vessels, thus increasing the chances of collecting fatty deposits. It will also cause your good cholesterol levels to come down.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Are you aware that type 2 diabetes leads to a reduction in good cholesterol? The main factors that lead to diabetes are a poor diet and lack of physical exercise. Thus, have foods rich in fiber such as fruits, nonstarchy vegetables, and whole grains. Also make sure to consume foods that contain healthy fats such as fish, nuts, avocados, and canola oil. 

Conclusion

Hope you had a good read and are all set to start your battle against cholesterol. The worst part is that cholesterol doesn’t show any symptoms. Thus it is always recommended to check your cholesterol levels on a periodic basis and follow the tips discussed above so that you can keep your high cholesterol levels at bay. 

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