First of all you need to realize that while there are several causes of high cholesterol, in general they can be divided into two:
Primary high cholesterol causes that you “cannot control”.
I’ve called these causes as something that you “cannot control” because you can’t do much about them. However, you can still do something about their effect in your health.
The three main causes of high cholesterol that you can’t control are your:
– Genetics or family history;
If your parents, grandparents, brothers, or sisters have high cholesterol, you and your children may be at risk. All family members should consider being tested.
Women have a lower rate of high cholesterol, since before menopause they have lower cholesterol levels than men of the same age. However, as the women get older, their blood cholesterol levels rise until about 60 to 65 years old. After the age of 50, women often (but not always) have higher total cholesterol levels than men of the same age.
There are people that due to genetics or family history, have high cholesterol eventhough they’re young in their 20’s for example.
Secondary Causes of High Cholesterol that you can control.
These secondary causes of high cholesterol are risk factors which with some discipline you can avoid. The result is lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you. There are 5 secondary causes of high cholesterol:
Excess weight tends to increase you LDL (bad) cholesterol level. If you are overweight and have high cholesterol levels, losing weight may help you lower it. Weight loss also helps to lower triglyceride levels as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Another “side effect” of being overweight is a high risk of heart disease, which is a direct result of low HDL levels and high triglyceride levels.
It’s common sense that being overweight leads to an unhealthy life. As such a regular exercise would help to shed some weight plus it may lower the bad or LDL cholesterol and raise the good or HDL cholesterol levels.
Diet is the most important of the secondary high cholesterol causes, which affect almost everyone.
Fact: The average American man consumes about 360 milligrams of cholesterol a day – the average woman consumes about 220-260 milligrams a day.
Compare these statistics with a maximum consumption of 300 milligrams per day. An egg contains about 300 milligrams of cholesterol – so if you eat an egg a day, you reached your maximum quota of cholesterol.
However we’ve got to remember that the liver produces all the necessary cholesterol needed by the body. As such, it is not necessary to get additional cholesterol from food. Foods to consume without fear are fruits and vegetables. Limit as much as you can animal and dairy products.
Alcohol is “good” because it increases HDL cholesterol (the good one). However, it does not decrease the bad or HDL cholesterol. Plus,drinking too much alcohol damages the liver and heart muscle, leads to high blood pressure and raises triglyceride levels.
The net result of alcohol is more damage done than good. Avoid it as much as you can.
Smoking reduces your good or HDL cholesterol and is linked to about 20% of deaths from heart disease.
Stress in itself does not increase cholesterol levels. However, as one of the secondary causes of high cholesterol, it affects your mood and your eating habits. While stressed we tend to eat fatty foods such as chocolates and sweets or drink and smoke. Apparently stress causes the fast burning of calories and sugars are a quick calorie builder.(Ever had your boss be a pain for few days and you find a craving to eat chocolates or sweets, or going out to have a drink so that to forget all about it? I’ve had that more than once.)
Having said all this about primary and secondary causes of high cholesterol, what we can control and what we cannot control, there are definitely various ways to eliminate some of the causes of high cholesterol and lower it.
First, it goes without saying that primarily, we can eliminate with some discipline some of the secondary causes of high cholesterol. We can limit or cut out smoking, avoid high fat food, exercise regularly.
But, these require a lot of discipline and unfortunately, sometimes that’s something that we, as humans lack.
The good news on the other side is that we can take control of our cholesterol levels, by taking supplements. There are definite scientific proofs that they work. Excellent supplements to lower cholesterol are policosanol and guggulipid. They have been tested in more than a dozen of studies and found to lower cholesterol better than drugs.
Policosanol for example, is a safe and natural extract from sugar cane wax.
It works by helping the liver control its production and breakdown of cholesterol. Clinical studies show that policosanol is as effective as prescription drugs in lowering cholesterol, but without their dangerous side effects.
In a study of 53 diabetic patients, policosanol lowered total cholesterol by 14.2 percent, LDL (bad) cholesterol 20.4 percent and even raised the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol by 7.5 percent.