What Causes High Cholesterol Levels?


Many people wonder “What causes high cholesterol levels?”

This is often a fleeting thought as they see the word “Cholesterol” on the box of their third hamburger, and it is soon forgotten in the delight of the pickles, burger, and other delicious ingredients used to make this fast food/junk food meal that is so popular in the country.

Most people actually have no idea what it means to have high cholesterol levels, what problems can arise if you have cholesterol levels that get out of control, how to lower cholesterol naturally, what natural cholesterol lowering supplements exist, or what it means to have good cholesterol levels.
The truth is that most people neglect to think about bad or good cholesterol levels until their doctor informs them there is a problem.

What Causes High Cholesterol Levels?

The truth of the matter is that cholesterol is actually something that you need to be concerned about, at least when you are passed 25, and you would do well to keep your cholesterol in mind as you go about your day.

High cholesterol can be a problem, and it can lead to serious health problems like chest pains, heart attacks, strokes, and more. If you aren’t concerned about your cholesterol levels, perhaps it is time to start…

But what causes high cholesterol levels in the first place?
There are actually a lot of things that can cause high cholesterol levels, and below you will find that predominant things that are responsible for elevating your cholesterol.


Smoking is actually one of the primary causes of cholesterol, as smoking too much will actually suppress the body’s natural production of the good HDL cholesterol.
If your body doesn’t produce enough HDL cholesterol, it isn’t able to naturally get rid of the bad LDL cholesterol.
Too much LDL cholesterol running wild in your body is what causes all the problems, as the LDL cholesterol sticks to your arteries and causes the clogs.

However, smoking isn’t only the cause of high LDL cholesterol, but it is also directly related to heart attacks. How is it related?

When you smoke, the nicotine causes your blood pressure to rise. This places pressure on the walls of your arteries, which causes them to be weakened. When the arterial walls become weak, the cholesterol sticks to them more easily. When the cholesterol sticks, accumulates, and hardens, it is very likely to crack.
Seeing as the arterial walls are weak, they crack along with the cholesterol.

The body rushes to plug the crack by forming a blood clot in the artery as it repairs itself, but this clot can actually stop blood from getting past. When blood doesn’t reach your heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke is the result.

All this from some cigarettes…


Medications have been known to cause an increase in cholesterol levels, though not all medication will have this effect.

There are specific medications like diuretics, corticosteroids, estrogen, and beta-blockers that can cause triglycerides to be produced in high quantities.
The medications also suppress the production of HDL cholesterol, which can lead to problems.

Seeing as HDL cholesterol is responsible for eliminating the LDL cholesterol, your body will start to have problems if not enough good cholesterol is produced to get rid of the bad stuff. Anything that suppresses the production of HDL cholesterol puts you at risk of elevating your cholesterol.


Heart conditions are not always passed down from one generation to the next, but many people that have had heart problems find that their children have the same problems.

Cholesterol levels are something that can be passed down via your genes, though it is not always the case. However, if your parents had problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any other kind of heart disorder, it is worth getting yourself checked out as well.

You can save yourself some serious trouble if you discover that cholesterol problems have been passed down to you from your parents, and you can catch the problems before they worsen and become  serious.


There are a number of disorders that put you at risk of developing high cholesterol.

Chronic kidney problems and kidney disease can have an effect on your level of cholesterol, and hypothyroidism can also be responsible for elevating your cholesterol levels.
These disorders affect the levels of cholesterol that are produced by your body, causing your serum cholesterol to become elevated. When you add dietary cholesterol to your body, you are just going to make the inherent problems even worse.

Activity – or the lack of it 🙂

If you don’t have a very active lifestyle, cholesterol problems are most likely in your future. Why is this? There are two reasons:

Reason 1: You have a slower metabolism – When you spend a lot of time sitting down or keeping most of your body fairly still, your body realizes that it doesn’t need as much energy as it did when you were jumping around as a child and teenager.
It slows down your metabolism little by little, as it only digests food at the rate it thinks you need it.

However, if you continue to eat as much as you did when you were younger, it is probable that your food will sit in your stomach much longer as your body tries to metabolize more than it can. The longer the food sits, the more cholesterol is absorbed and produced, and the higher you bad cholesterol levels get.

Reason 2: You don’t burn fat – If you don’t do a lot of exercise, your body produces less HDL cholesterol than it should.
However, you also burn less fat, as you aren’t doing anything to get rid of the calories that you have consumed during the day.
The fat gets stored all around your body, and your body produces more bile for the next day in order to burn more of the food. However, it also produces more cholesterol, and thus your cholesterol levels will rise if you don’t do exercise to burn off the food you eat.

Those who don’t do any kind of exercise and who spend all day sitting down will usually find that they have high cholesterol levels.

What Else Causes High Cholesterol Levels?  Age and Sex

Those over the age of 20-25 will need to start being aware of their bodies, and of the fact that cholesterol problems could be in their future.

Your body automatically starts to produce more cholesterol once you reach the age of 20, though slowly.
The amount of cholesterol produced in the body continues to rise slowly until men reach the age of 50, after which time it tends to even out.
In women, cholesterol barely rises before menopause, but during and after it tends to rise until it is even with men.

It is important that you remember that your age plays a large part in your cholesterol levels. Those over the age of 25 should get checked out every five years, while those over the age of 40 should get checked out every two or three years to be sure they aren’t developing high cholesterol levels.


If you are overweight, it is likely that you have higher cholesterol levels than are healthy for you.

Weighing too much may cause your body to produce more triglycerides than is healthy, and it will cause your body to produce less of the good HDL cholesterol that gets rid of the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

This is because the body is unable to function as well as it should, and it is so busy trying to get rid of the additional fat that you are adding every day that it just can’t deal with the existing weight and cholesterol.

Dietary Habits

If you have poor dietary habits, you will find that dietary cholesterol will mix with your blood cholesterol to form “way too much cholesterol”.

Saturated fats come from meat, and they are turned into cholesterol along with trans fats from deep fried food and fats created from sugary foods and refined foods.


Both kinds of fat come from eating too much meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, crackers, cookies, potato chips, and other foods that contain high amounts of calories and very little nutrients.

Now that you know what causes high cholesterol levels, you can start taking steps to ensure that none of these causes will be the reason you have high cholesterol.

You can quit smoking, consult with your doctor about medications that won’t affect your cholesterol, do some research into your family medical history, take steps to correct any disorders that can raise you cholesterol, start doing more exercise, get checked out as you get older, lose weight, and start eating right.

All these changes can help you prevent cholesterol levels from getting out of control, which can help you live a long, happy, healthy, and cholesterol-free life.

Go to the top of this page about what causes high cholesterol levels, or go to the main page about cholesterol.

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