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Uncontrollable Risk Factors for High Cholesterol


Uncontrollable Risk Factors for High Cholesterol

Eating foods that have a lot of cholesterol is not the only way to get high cholesterol. Many things increase the chances of a buildup of cholesterol in your blood. Some of these are things you cannot change. These are called uncontrollable risk factors. They include:

  • Age. Your chances of getting high cholesterol go up as you get older. Blood cholesterol levels naturally begin to rise after age 20. This rise is probably a result of the body not being able to get rid of extra cholesterol as well as it did when you were younger.
  • Gender. In general, men tend to get high cholesterol at a younger age than women. Before menopause, women have lower total blood cholesterol levels and higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels than men, making them less likely to have coronary artery disease (CAD). After menopause, women's LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels increase substantially because of changes in hormones. 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.
  • Heredity. High cholesterol can run in families. For this reason, it is important for people who have a family history of high cholesterol or CAD to have their cholesterol levels checked regularly.

Whether or not you have a family history of high cholesterol or any other uncontrollable risk factors, the best way to prevent high cholesterol is to make healthy lifestyle changes and get treatment for related conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology
Last RevisedJuly 2, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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