ZocdocAnswersWhat is the cause of high cholesterol in thin women?

Question

What is the cause of high cholesterol in thin women?

I am a VERY thin 28 year old woman. I exercise regularly. For some reason my cholesterol is high. What could cause this?

Answer

I realize this can be confusing. While cholesterol levels can be effected by your diet and exercise, it has much more to do with genetics. In other words, you likely have genes that help keep you thin, but you also have genes that make your cholesterol higher. While I can't tell you in your particular case why your cholesterol is high, I can give you some more information that may help you interpret your cholesterol level. There are two types of cholesterol, the LDL (bad) cholesterol and the HDL (good) cholesterol. We want LDL to be low and HDL to be high, but we focus more on the LDL level. In women your age, we look at any additional risk factors you have for cardiovascular disease (diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, etc). If none of these apply to you, then your LDL level may only need to be below 160. Thus, cholesterol that is high in one person may not be considered high in you. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can discuss your LDL level in the context your general health and decide how low your cholesterol needs to go. I imagine you should have an LDL goal of less than 160. If you are above that, then you will benefit from being on a cholesterol medication. If it is less than that, then I would suggest following your cholesterol levels yearly to make sure they don't get higher than that. Good luck.

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