Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is the cause of high cholesterol mostly food?"
My doctor says I have high cholesterol. I'm a fit guy. Could it be the food I'm eating?
There are numerous factors that come together to elevate the level of cholesterol in the blood. First there is the types of food that you eat. Foods high in certain fats, especially red meats and saturated fats, will elevate the cholesterol levels. Second, your body weight and exercise have an impact. If you are overweight, this will raise your cholesterol. Exercise and weight loss will lower it. Alcohol consumption can have a major impact on raising cholesterol levels if you drink more than in moderation. Similarly, smoking can impact your cholesterol levels. A factor which you cannot control is your genetic background. Many people have family histories of high cholesterol, and this may be related to inheriting certain genes involved in cholesterol processing. Talk to your doctor about what they think the major factors in your case are. For most young, healthy people, exercise, weight loss, eating well, and avoiding alcohol will help with the cholesterol levels. If you have a family history of cholesterol or heart problems, you will have to be even more careful, as this means you also have a genetic tendency working against you. Your doctor will help you make a plan for lowering your cholesterol.
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