Cholesterol is a fatty substance, waxy produced in the liver but is also found in certain foods, such as those of animal origin: dairy products, eggs and meat. The body needs cholesterol for good.
However, above a certain limit cholesterol exacerbated by default and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some of the factors that contribute to increased serum cholesterol levels can be controlled, but others do not.Uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Sex: after menopause LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) increases in women, increasing the risk of developing heart disease
- Age: risk of cardiovascular disease increases with age. Men over 45 and women over 55 are at increased risk of developing hypercholesterolemia
- Family history: the risk of developing hypercholesterolemia increases if your father or brother of the patient was affected by heart disease at a young age (before 55 years) or if your mother or sister suffered from the same disease (before 65 years).
- Controllable risk factors include:
- Diet: Saturated fat and cholesterol in foods raise levels of LDL cholesterol
- Weight: obesity involves increased levels of LDL cholesterol and low levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol)
- Exercise: increasing physical exercise lowers LDL cholesterol and it increases the HDL cholesterol. It also helps keep weight normal.
As the number of risk factors is greater the greater the chance of cardiovascular disease.