Stress is a major factor increasing the cholesterol level in blood.
High level of cholesterol, which is blood fat needed by the body in moderate amounts, can lead to serious health risks.
Researchers Andrew Steptoe and Lena Brydon of University College London examined 199 healthy middle-aged men and women to know how individuals react to stress and whether their reaction can increase cholesterol and heighten cardiovascular risk, reports Newswise wire.
Changes in total cholesterol were assessed in the participants before and three years after completing two stress tasks.
The finding, reported in the November issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), shows stress raised cholesterol level in some people.
"Our study found that individuals vary in their cholesterol responses to stress," said Steptoe.
"Some participants showed large increases even in the short term, while others showed very little response.
"The cholesterol responses we measured in the lab probably reflect the way people react to challenges in everyday life as well. So the larger cholesterol responders to stress tasks will be large responders to emotional situations in their lives."
The researchers added: "It is these responses in everyday life that accumulate to lead to an increase in fasting cholesterol or lipid levels three years later. It appears that a person's reaction to stress is one mechanism through which higher lipid levels may develop."
The researchers found no sex differences among the participants in their cholesterol levels and response to stress.