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High Cholesterol (cont.)


High cholesterol can be caused by:

  • What you eat. Eating too much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can cause high cholesterol.
    • Saturated fat and cholesterol are in foods that come from animals, such as meats, whole milk, egg yolks, butter, and cheese.
    • Trans fat is found in fried foods and packaged foods, such as cookies, crackers, and chips.
  • Your weight. Being overweight may increase triglycerides and decrease HDL (good cholesterol).
  • Your activity level. Lack of physical activity can lower your HDL.
  • Your age and gender. After you reach age 20, your cholesterol naturally begins to rise.
    • In men, cholesterol generally levels off after age 50.
    • In women, it stays fairly low until menopause. Then it rises to about the same level as in men.
  • Some diseases. Certain diseases may raise your risk of high cholesterol. These include hypothyroidism, chronic kidney disease, and some types of liver disease.
  • Your family history. High cholesterol may run in your family. If family members have or had high cholesterol, you may also have it.
  • Cigarette smoking. Smoking can lower your HDL cholesterol.
  • Certain medicines. Some medicines can raise triglyceride levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels. These medicines include thiazide diuretics, beta-blockers, estrogen, and corticosteroids.

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