A number of genetic or lifestyle-related factors influence and control the blood cholesterol level.
A number of genetic or lifestyle-related factors influence and control the level of total blood cholesterol in an individual. They include-
There are two dietary factors associated with increase in blood cholesterol levels-
- Food that is high in saturated fats, including foods containing high levels of hydrogenated vegetable oils, especially palm and coconut oils, avocados and other high-fat foods of vegetable origin.
- Foods containing high levels of cholesterol, which include egg, meat, lard and shrimp. These foods can significantly raise blood cholesterol levels, especially when combined with foods that are high in saturated fat.
Older people have a higher cholesterol level than younger ones. The blood levels of cholesterol tend to increase with age.
People who are overweight are more likely to have higher LDL levels and lower HDL levels, compared to people who are of normal weight.
Men have higher cholesterol levels than females.
Diseases such as diabetes can lower HDL levels, increase triglycerides and accelerate the development of atherosclerosis. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can also hasten the development of atherosclerosis. Some medications used to treat hypertension can increase LDL and triglycerides and decrease HDL levels.
People with a family history of heart disease are more likely to have higher blood cholesterol levels.
Factors that negatively affect cholesterol levels also include high levels of stress, which can raise total cholesterol levels, and cigarette smoking, which can lower a person's HDL level as much as 15%. On the other hand, strenuous exercise can increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels.