Some things that increase your risk for are within your control; some are not. It is important to lower your risk as much as possible.
Things you can control include:
- Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, which can raise your cholesterol.
- Being overweight, which lowers HDL and may raise LDL.
- Not getting enough regular physical activity, which may raise LDL and lower HDL.
- Smoking, which may lower HDL.
You may be able to control some other conditions that can raise cholesterol, including and metabolic syndrome.
Things you cannot control include:
- . If high cholesterol runs in your family, you may develop it, and it may be harder to treat.
- Age and gender. After you reach age 20, your cholesterol levels naturally begin to rise. In men, cholesterol levels generally level off after age 50. In women, cholesterol levels stay fairly low until , after which they rise to about the same level as in men.