Medically reviewed by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD on Feb 6, 2019. Written by Caitlin Boyd.

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“Why is my cholesterol high?” If you find yourself asking that, you aren’t alone. High cholesterol, a well-known threat aspect for heart illness and also stroke, affects around 1 in eexceptionally 3 Amerideserve to adults. That’s arguably a pretty huge propercent of adults who have high cholesterol – and also it raises the question: why is high blood cholesterol so common?

Dietary habits, as many kind of world know, are often responsible for high levels of cholesterol: eat a lot of foodstuffs high in saturated fat – cheeseburgers, for circumstances – and your blood cholesterol level might swing upwards. (We know, they’re delicious.)


While a diet high in saturated and also trans fat can increase your full cholesterol level and also cause high LDL and triglyceride numbers, this isn’t always the entirety image as soon as it comes to cholesterol levels: high blood cholesterol deserve to make an unwelcome appearance also if you’re extremely careful around eating a healthy and balanced, balanced diet.

Here’s why: there are other potential motorists of high cholesterol, such as a absence of exercise and one’s genes. (So it have the right to be valuable to examine your blood cholesterol levels regardmuch less of your dietary habits – something you can now perform from the convenience of house through our home cholesterol test. You have the right to additionally examine up on indications of your heart wellness at home via our Heart Health Test.)

So check out on to take a closer look at both of these non-dietary factors for high cholesterol if you’re wondering “Why is my cholesterol high as soon as I eat healthy and balanced foods?”

(1) Lack of exercise

Truth be told, it’s not always basic to uncover the time – or the incentive – to continuously exercise. But take note: continuous physical activity is an absolute must if you desire to safeguard your body’s health and health. Exercise, after all, has many kind of benefits – both physiological and also emotional (“there is irrefutable evidence,” wrote one group of researchers, that continuous physical task deserve to assist prevent many kind of chronic conditions and premature death). Incorporating exercise or workouts into one"s schedule and eating a balanced diet are both way of life transforms that are often recommfinished for people who desire to preserve a healthy weight and lower LDL.

On the flip side, a absence of exercise generally comes with a variety of wellness aftermath – some of them fairly severe. One health consequence, for instance, is an boosted risk of getting an unhealthy amount of weight.

Over the lengthy term, a absence of exercise have the right to bring about excessive weight – which, consequently, deserve to considerably lift cholesterol levels. In truth, as much as 70% of patients with excessive weight have abnormalities in their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Importantly, when obesity causes a high cholesterol level in the body, it’s – even more regularly than not – the levels of “poor cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) that tick upward. But levels of “great cholesterol” – or HDL cholesterol – on the other hand also, are often low. (If you have actually a high triglyceride level and/or LDL level, it’s a great concept to talk through your healthcare provider to learn what measures to take next. Possible therapies may be medication, including more omega-3-rich foods items that reduced triglycerides in your diet, and more.)

And there’s more: weight problems deserve to elevate the amount of small thick LDL particles in the bloodstream. These LDL pposts – exceptionally tiny in dimension, as their name suggests – deserve to easily slip right into the wall surfaces of your arteries (the vessels that bring blood from the heart to the remainder of the body), prompting a plaque buildup. The arteries influenced by plaque buildup frequently harden and narrowhead as a result, significantly slowing blood flow – a condition well-known as atherosclerosis. Alarmingly, the danger of enduring from a stroke or heart assault shoots up when your arteries are in this condition.

Small dense LDL particles deserve to conveniently slip right into the walls of your arteries, leading to a buildup of plaque. The affected arteries frequently harden and also narrowhead as a result (depicted here), significantly slowing blood circulation. Source: National Library of Medicine (US). Genetics Home Reference. Illustration: Plaque in an artery wall. (Cited Jan 31, 2019.)

With all this in mind, then, if you are overweight or obese it’s vital to on a regular basis check your cholesterol levels (which you have the right to do at home via the Cholesterol and also Lipids Test). And if your cholesterol levels are in fact also high, consult via your wellness treatment provider on the following measures to take that’d be ideal for you. Regulating cholesterol levels in your body might assist improve your heart health and wellness and also in its entirety wellness.

(2) Genetics

Has someone in your family members had a heart strike even though they were fairly young? If your answer is “Yes,” you could be at a threat for “familial hypercholesterolemia” – an inherited, genetic lipid disorder that’s characterized by high blood cholesterol levels at a young age and also a higher-than-normal danger of heart condition. (Also: if you answered “Yes” to that question, think about checking your cholesterol levels via an at-home cholesterol test kit that lets you collect a sample from the convenience of house and also send it to a lab for trial and error. And, of course, be certain to consult via your healthtreatment provider.)

In woguys, for example, untreated familial hypercholesterolemia leads to a 30% threat of a coronary event (such as a heart attack) by age 60. That threat climbs to 50% in males by age 50.

What"s more, this genetic problem have the right to reason elevated cholesterol even if someone eats a well-well balanced diet and also gets regular physical activity—somepoint to keep in mind if you’ve wanted to find out even more about the causes of high cholesterol in a “healthy” perboy.

So what is it specifically about this hereditary lipid disorder that reasons cholesterol levels to reach disturbingly-high levels?

To answer that, we need to talk around somepoint dubbed “LDL receptors.” LDL receptors are one-of-a-kind gadgets on the surchallenge of many type of of your body’s cells. Their job summary is straightforward: to capture particles of LDL cholesterol flowing in the bloodstream and also take them inside the cell (wbelow the LDL cholesterol is damaged down).

In this way, LDL receptors continually clear your LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream – so there’s much less LDL cholesterol about to gum up the arteries through plaque.

But if you have actually familial hypercholesterolemia, your cells don’t have very many kind of of these receptors – so pposts of LDL cholesterol build up in your bloodstream much faster than they have the right to be cleared amethod.

How do you understand if you’ve inherited this disorder?

A cholesterol level that’s much higher than average for your age is one clue (note that you can check your cholesterol and also lipid levels at home through a cholesterol test collection kit).

However, if you’re involved about familial hypercholesterolemia, you have to definitely consult with your healthtreatment provider – since just a qualified healthtreatment skilled will certainly be in a position to make an exact diagnosis.


1. Cholesterol. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.

2. Saturated Fat. Amerideserve to Heart Association. URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.

3.Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006;174(6):801-809. doi:10.1503/cmaj.051351

4.Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.

5.Feingold KR, Grunfeld C. Obesity and Dyslipidemia. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endomessage . South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000. Available from: URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.

6.Knowing Your Risk for High Cholesterol. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.

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7.Youngblom E, Pariani M, Knowles JW. Familial Hypercholesterolemia. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, et al., editors. GeneReviews . Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 2014. Available from: URL. Accessed Feb 6, 2019.