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Weight. Excess weight tends to increase your LDL-cholesterol level. If you are overweight and have a high LDL-cholesterol level, losing weight may help you lower it. Weight loss also helps to lower triglycerides and raise HDL.
Physical activity/exercise. Regular physical activity may lower LDL-cholesterol and raise HDL-cholesterol levels.
Age and sex. Before menopause, women usually have total cholesterol levels that are lower than those of men same age. As women and men get older, their blood cholesterol levels rise until about 60 to 65 years of age. In women, menopause often causes an increase in their LDL-cholesterol and a decrease in their HDL- cholesterol level, and after age of 50, women often have higher total cholesterol levels than men of same age.
Alcohol. Alcohol intake increases HDL-cholesterol but does not lower LDL-cholesterol. Doctors don't know for certain whether alcohol also reduces risk of heart disease. Drinking too much alcohol can damage liver and heart muscle, lead to high blood pressure, and raise triglycerides. Because of risks, alcoholic beverages should not be used as a way to prevent heart disease.
Stress. Stress over long term has been shown in several studies to raise blood cholesterol levels. One way that stress may do this is by affecting your habits. For example, when some people are under stress, they console themselves by eating fatty foods. The saturated fat and cholesterol in these foods contribute to higher levels of blood cholesterol.
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