High Cholesterol Causes

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By elizabeth
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Why cholesterol matters.' American Heart Association, 6 Nov. 2020, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol.
  • 2. Meagan Bridges, RD;David Zieve, MD, MHA. 'Facts about saturated fats' Medline Plus, 26 May 2020, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000838.htm.
  • 3. 'Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health.' Mayo Clinic, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114.
  • 4. '5 foods that fight high cholesterol.' Harvard Health Publishing, 15 Feb. 2021, https://www.health.
  • 5. 'Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html.
  • 6. 'Obesity and Lipid Abnormalities Fact Sheet.' Obesity Action Coalition, https://www.obesityaction.org/wp-content/uploads/Obesity-and-Lipid-Issues-Fact-Sheet.pdf.
  • 7. 'Physical Fitness Keeps Cholesterol Under Control.' Journal of the American College of Cardiology, https://www.cardiosmart.org/news/2015/5/physical-fitness-keeps-cholesterol-under-control.
  • 8. Alexander Chadwick;Rebecca Holme;Yiliang Chen;et al. 'Acrolein Impairs the Cholesterol Transport Functions of High Density Lipoproteins.' US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, PLoS One, 7 Apr. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4388475/.
  • 9. 'Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH).' American Heart Association, 9 Nov. 2020, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/causes-of-high-cholesterol/familial-hypercholesterolemia-fh.
  • 10. Beth Battaglino, RN-C. 'Heart Health During Pregnancy and Beyond.' Healthy Women, 21 Sep. 2020, https://www.healthywomen.org/created-with-support/heart-health-during-pregnancy-and-beyond.
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Cholesterol is a lipid, one of the body's necessary fatty substances. A healthy liver produces enough for food digestion and other essential processes. However, diet also boosts cholesterol levels, specifically animal products.

Proteins carry cholesterol lipids in the blood, forming lipoprotein spheres. High-density lipoprotein removes some cholesterol from artery walls and returns it to the liver for removal. So, HDL is categorized as good cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein delivers cholesterol to the body's cells. LDL is considered bad cholesterol because too much causes arterial plaque buildup, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Both low LDL and high HDL are necessary to support a heart-healthy balance.1‘Why cholesterol matters.’ American Heart Association, 6 Nov. 2020, https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol.

1. Unhealthy Foods

Poor dietary choices, including the type of food and method of preparation can cause high cholesterol, also called hyperlipidemia. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can boost LDL to dangerous levels, especially when these fatty foods are consumed with refined sugars. Some examples of high saturated fat options are full-fat dairy, cheese, butter, sausage, fatty red meats, bacon and skin-on chicken.2Meagan Bridges, RD;David Zieve, MD, MHA. ‘Facts about saturated fats’ Medline Plus, 26 May 2020, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000838.htm.

Foods with trans fat deliver a double whammy. They lower good HDL cholesterol and increase bad LDL. Processed foods like cakes, microwave popcorn, biscuits and frozen pizza often contain trans fat. Fried foods are another culprit. Food labels help identify trans fat items.3‘Trans fat is double trouble for your heart health.’ Mayo Clinic, 13 Feb. 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/trans-fat/art-20046114.

High Cholesterol

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