What are the factors that cause high cholesterol?

High cholesterol levels can lead to health implications such as blocked arteries which can increase your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and in some cases diabetes.

In the UK alone over half of the adult population have raised cholesterol.

There are a number of elements that can cause high cholesterol, with many of them being addressable.


The food you put into your body can play a huge role in increasing your cholesterol. Fats (in particular saturated fats) in particular, always come into the firing line as being the main contributor to high cholesterol – although this has recently come under some scrutiny.

The worst offenders of increasing cholesterol are foods such as processed meats, trans fats, and added sugars. Addressing your diet can be the easiest place to start with improving your cholesterol. With diets such as the DASH and Mediterranean diet being incredibly popular.


Besides your diet other factors such as exercise, sleep and stress can lead to higher cholesterol. There can be a vicious cycle between stress, sleep and exercise and if you are lacking in all three coupled with the food you are eating this can cause an increase in your cholesterol.

Exercise stimulates enzymes that pushes LDL from the blood to the liver where it is either turned into bile or excreted. The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise per week to ensure that LDL levels do not build up within the arteries.

Hereditary factors

Sometimes you just can’t avoid having high cholesterol levels due to hereditary factors. Take familial hypercholesterolaemia, for example, inherited high cholesterol levels mean that there is no way to avoid developing it but of course it can be managed.

Once you are aware that your cholesterol levels need addressing there are many ways to manage them. The best way to discover your levels would be with a simple blood test.

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