What Causes High LDL Cholesterol?

What Causes High LDL Cholesterol?

Do you have high LDL cholesterol? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 94 million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL. Cholesterol levels, of course, represent the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. There's good cholesterol, and there's bad cholesterol.

Good cholesterol is represented by HDL. Bad cholesterol, on the other hand, is represented by LDL. You typically want high HDL cholesterol levels and low LDL cholesterol levels. If you have high LDL cholesterol, it may be attributed to the following risk factors.

Red Meat

Eating too much red meat can increase your LDL cholesterol. Diets high in beef and pork, for instance, have been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. Red meat contains a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat is a type of fatty acid with a single bond. When consumed, it can raise your LDL cholesterol. You can still include some red meat in your diet, but try to focus on leaner meats like chicken and fish. Lean meats such as these have far less saturated fat, making them a better overall choice for your health.


In addition to red meat, dairy products can increase your LDL cholesterol. Dairy products are high in saturated fat. If you consume too much saturated fat -- whether it's from red meat, milk, cheese or other foods -- your LDL cholesterol levels may increase. Therefore, you should be conscious of how much dairy you consume. And when choosing dairy products, opt for the low-fat or fat-free varieties.


Smoking has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says it raises the risk for unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, such as LDL cholesterol levels. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which are harmful to the human body. Over time, these chemicals can damage your arteries and organs while simultaneously increasing your LDL cholesterol levels.


Lack of physical activity has been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. When you exercise, you'll flush cholesterol from your body. If you spend little or no time exercising, conversely, levels of LDL cholesterol in your body may increase while levels of HDL choleterol decrease.


Another common cause of high LDL cholesterol is stress. Stress is the result is the body's natural fight-or-flight response. Prolonged stress, though, can take a toll on your health. One of the ways in which stress affects the body is by increasing LDL cholesterol levels.

May 18th 2023

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