Cause Of High Cholesterol – Diet Or Genetics?

Before discussing the causes of high cholesterol, some background may be useful. Cholesterol combines with proteins into a molecular structure called a lipoprotein. The lipoproteins transport the cholesterol in your blood stream. There are different types of cholesterol and when the body combines each with proteins, the result are different kinds of lipoprotein.

There are five major groups of lipoproteins. The three generally included in a discussion of high cholesterol are described next.


High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is commonly called “good cholesterol” since it scavenges extra cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. As it’s name implies, it is denser than the other types of lipoprotein.


Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is generally referred to as “bad cholesterol”. While LDLs are essential for transporting cholesterol throughout the body, sometimes it sticks to the walls of your arteries. When this happens they narrow, harden, and eventually may become susceptible to blockage or rupture. Deposits of LDLs in the arteries generally look bubbly or spongy.


Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is highest in triglycerides, a type of fat. VLDL is larger than HDL and LDL, but gets metabolized by the body and eventually becomes LDL. High VLDL levels can also contribute to narrowing of the arteries. Certain people taking cholesterol medication may lower LDL concentrations but still have elevated VLDL in which case triglycerides need to be addressed separately.

Life Style And High Cholesterol

Both lifestyle and genetics play a role in what is generally called “high cholesterol”. High cholesterol is a generalization however and many suffer from high LDL and/or VLDL and low HDL. Lifestyle choices that can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels include lack of exercise, poor diet, and obesity.

Genetics And High Cholesterol

Genetics may cause your arteries to accumulate cholesterol at a faster rate than normal or simply produce excessive cholesterol in you liver. Genetics can outweigh lifestyle choices as the most important factor in cholesterol health. This means a healthy cholesterol level for one person may actually be high cholesterol for another person simply due to genetics. An easy non-invasive procedure where a skilled technician takes an ultrasound image of your neck’s carotid arteries provides a good indication of the general health of your cardiovascular system. The American Heart Association recommends testing cholesterol every five years for people aged 20 years or older.



Article: Cause Of High Cholesterol – Diet Or Genetics?

Source: Heart Healthy Solution

Author: Jonathan Sherman

Resources: Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic



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