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What causes high cholesterol?

What causes high cholesterol?

What causes high cholesterol you ask? There are in fact several causes including an unhealthy diet, a lack of exercise and poor lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol.

What causes high cholesterol?

What Causes High Cholesterol?

Factors that can increase your risk of bad cholesterol include:

Poor diet

Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some biscuits and crackers and microwave popcorn, can raise your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your cholesterol.

Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol. To check your BMI, click here.

Lack of exercise

A lack of exercise is one big factor to consider when it comes to what causes high cholesterol. Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL, or ‘good’, cholesterol while increasing the size of the particles that make up your LDL, or ‘bad’, cholesterol, which makes it less harmful.


Cigarette smoking makes the walls of your blood vessels more prone to accumulating fatty deposits. It can also lower your level of HDL, or ‘good’, cholesterol.


Unfortunately, as we age, our risk of high cholesterol climbs. For instance, as we age, the liver becomes less able to remove LDL cholesterol.


High blood sugar contributes to higher levels of a dangerous cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.

For around one in every 250 Australians, high cholesterol is at least inherited from our parents when the liver’s ability to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood is impaired. If that is the case, you may need to talk to your doctor about a cholesterol-lowering medication.

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