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The Primary Causes Of High Cholesterol That Can Be Prevented

Cholesterol production in the body is a natural process. However, it is in our hands to prevent high cholesterol levels 

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: Jul 17, 2023 00:30 IST
The Primary Causes Of High Cholesterol That Can Be Prevented

Onlymyhealth Tamil

Cholesterol itself is not bad for the body. In fact, it is an essential substance required for various functions, including the production of hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids necessary for digestion. However, high levels of certain types of cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol can contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The good news is high cholesterol is preventable and it can be managed by recognising the causes and making proper lifestyle choices. Dr Bhupesh R Shah, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, HCG Hospitals, Ahmedabad, sheds light on the same. 

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Types Of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the blood and can be classified into different types:

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is often referred to as "bad" cholesterol because high levels of LDL can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol: HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream and carries it back to the liver for processing and elimination. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are generally associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Very-Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) Cholesterol: VLDL cholesterol is a type of cholesterol that carries triglycerides (another type of fat) from the liver to the cells in the body. High levels of VLDL cholesterol are often associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Total Cholesterol: Total cholesterol refers to the sum of LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol levels in the blood. It provides an overall measure of cholesterol but does not differentiate between the different types.

Causes Of Cholesterol That You Can Prevent

“A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity can significantly increase cholesterol levels,” said Dr Shah, adding, “Hence, individuals can reduce their risk of developing high cholesterol by adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight.”

High cholesterol levels can often be attributed to preventable causes, including:

Unhealthy diet

Consuming foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, such as fatty meats, fried foods, processed snacks, and full-fat dairy products, can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels.

Sedentary lifestyle

Lack of regular physical activity can lead to weight gain, obesity, and higher cholesterol levels. Engaging in regular exercise can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.


Smoking damages blood vessels, reduces good cholesterol (HDL), and promotes the accumulation of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the arteries, increasing the risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases.

Also Read: Heart-Healthy Cooking Oils To Lower Risk Of Heart Problems

Excessive alcohol consumption

Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol can raise cholesterol levels and contribute to other heart-related problems. Moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered acceptable.

By addressing these preventable causes through adopting a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, and being aware of one's family history, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of high cholesterol and its associated health problems.

“Individuals must undergo regular cholesterol screenings, including blood tests such as lipid profiles, to identify potential issues and take necessary action,” advised Dr Shah. According to him, these tests enable us to monitor our cholesterol levels and make informed decisions about our health. “Preventing high cholesterol is within our control, and by making conscious choices and being proactive about our health, we can reduce the risk of developing this condition and improve our overall well-being,” he concluded.