There are a lot of things that can trigger a high cholesterol level in a person. These include lifestyle choices, such as living a sedentary lifestyle, not eating a healthy diet, and smoking. However, it is also possible that you have an underlying medical condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure, that has triggered it. Of course, those conditions are also often linked to poor lifestyle choices.
What Triggers High Cholesterol – Lifestyle:
A number of poor lifestyle choices in particular will increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. The first is an overall unhealthy diet. While there are foods like eggs, kidneys and liver, that contain naturally high levels of cholesterol, this is known as 'dietary cholesterol'. It will not, therefore, affect the cholesterol in your blood. Rather, it is the saturated fats that you eat that you should watch, as these will have the biggest effect on your overall cholesterol level.
Next, there is living a sedentary lifestyle. If you don't exercise, your LDL level (that's the bad cholesterol) will rise. This is because your blood doesn't flow as much and as quickly as possible.
Obesity is also linked to high cholesterol. However, it isn't always clear which one is the cause and which one is the effect. Most people who are obese will also have high LDL levels.
Drinking alcohol to excess is also linked to high cholesterol. This is mainly due to the fact that it increases the levels of triglycerides in your body. Cholesterol is made up of HDL (good cholesterol), LDL and triglycerides, the latter two being bad.
Finally, there is smoking. Smoking contains acrolein, which is a chemical that stops HDL from transporting the various fats to the liver. As a result, the arteries start to become narrower.
What Triggers High Cholesterol – Underlying Conditions:
It is important to understand that there are also a number of underlying conditions that can cause it. By and large, these underlying conditions are also caused by the same poor lifestyle choices that cause high cholesterol in the first place. This includes obesity and high blood pressure. However, conditions such as hyperthyroidism, liver disease, and kidney disease can also cause it.
What Triggers High Cholesterol – Other Factors:
There are a number of other things that are associated with high cholesterol. Unlike the above lifestyle choices and underlying conditions, you cannot change these factors, which is why they are called 'fixed factors'. They include having a family history of strokes or CHD (coronary heart disease), particularly if these exist in fathers or brothers aged 55 or younger, or mothers or sisters under the age of 65. Additionally, having familial hypercholesterolemia, which is a cholesterol-related condition, is also a fixed factor. Another important factor is your age, with older people being more likely to develop high cholesterol. Also, your ethnicity matters, with those of Asian descent being more likely to have high cholesterol. Finally, there is your gender, with males being more likely to develop high cholesterol and heart disease than women. Unfortunately, being fixed factors, there is nothing that you can do about them.