Valisure intern Karine Bruce-Doe is a senior at New York University.

High cholesterolalso known as hypercholesterolemia, is an illness in which one has high levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.  This can lead to cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and stroke. High cholesterol can be caused by many factors. This article should help you determine if you are high risk for high cholesterol.

Family History

Family history is not known to be a strong indicator of high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), but it is still an important factor to note. You can be more at risk for high cholesterol if it runs in your family.


Men are at greater risk of developing high cholesterol than women.We tend to see women’s LDL start to rise once they reach menopause.  In general, men tend to have lower HDL, or “good cholesterol” levels than women, which means they may have higher LDL levels in the body.


People can develop high cholesterol at any age, but the probability increases as we age.  This is because over time the liver’s ability to extract cholesterol from blood decreases. As previously stated, women’s LDL levels tend to increase once they reach menopause, which occurs on average around the age of 55. 

Other Illnesses

People who are overweight are more likely to develop hypercholesterolemia. Their bodies may not respond to changes in diet, which is the most effective method of lowering cholesterol. They are also likely to struggle with diabetes, which can increase cholesterol levels. Type 2 diabetes patients are prone to developing hypercholesterolemia/high cholesterol due to insulin resistance.


Whether or not one has hypercholesterolemia primarily depends on their lifestyle habits. Smoking, excessive drinking, a lack of exercise, and poor eating habits can contribute to an increased risk of high cholesterol.

Click here to read about lifestyle improvements and lowering cholesterol with diet in order to maintain normal cholesterol levels.

The Centers for Disease Control has excellent information to help you learn more about high cholesterol.

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