The Causes of High Cholesterol and Its Effect on the Human Body


Many people suffer from cholesterol-related complications. However, very few people know about the predisposing factors. This research paper will expound on the causes of high cholesterol levels in the human system and how this anomaly can affect activities in the body.

Cholesterol naturally appears naturally in the human body and the body needs it for its normal operations. It is literally found in all parts of the body in the cell wall or the cell membrane. Very small amounts of cholesterol are used to perform the above-named functions. Atherosclerosis results when there is a build-up of high levels of cholesterol in the blood. This condition is necessitated when high volumes of fats and cholesterol are deposited in arteries that nourish vital body organs. The coronary artery is often victim to this cholesterol build-up. When the cholesterol builds up in such arteries, they tend to narrow up. Heart attack is often caused by such conditions.

Causes of High Cholesterol in the Body

High cholesterol levels can be caused by various factors. Some of these include the kind of food that we consume. Individuals, who eat food that has high levels of saturated fat, trans-fat, and cholesterol, stand a risk of accumulating high cholesterol levels in their system. Animal food products have high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. This is true for butter and cheese. Packaged and fried foods have very high levels of trans-fats and cholesterol. Cookies, crackers, and chips feature prominently in this latter category. Weight also increases the chances of one having high cholesterol. Overweight people tend to have much triglyceride in their system and subsequent decrease in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (Katan & Beynen, pp. 395). People who do not take part in much physical activity tend to have bad cholesterol- the low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Such people however have low levels of high-density lipoprotein. Age gender also plays a pivotal role in determining levels of cholesterol in the human body. After the twentieth birthday, cholesterol levels tend to rise naturally in human beings. After clocking 50 years, cholesterol levels in men tend to level off. However, in women cholesterol levels stay low until they reach menopause. After menopause, it levels off and is comparable to that of men. Some medical conditions can lead to increased levels of cholesterol in one’s system. These include diabetes, hypothyroidism, and serious kidney complications. High cholesterol can be a family issue. Those people whom one of their parents happened to have had problems with high cholesterol are likely to develop complications related to high cholesterol. Those who smoke cigarettes have low HDL. Finally, some drugs lower good cholesterol levels.

Effects of high cholesterol

High cholesterol can have far-reaching ramification in the human body. Many heart conditions like heart attack are associated with high cholesterol levels. When cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it forms a plaque within the medium and big arteries. Significant build certainly hinders the flow of blood hence reduced distribution of blood in the body. Reduced supply of oxygen to the heart exposes one to heart attack. When the walls of the artery become permanently clogged, a medical condition called stroke develops. Plaque build up normally occur when the walls of the artery become weak due to high triglyceride and cholesterol in the blood (Castelli and Keaven, pp. 28).

There is some correlation between cholesterol level and obesity. Therefore, people with high cholesterol levels risk being obese. Obesity can lead to conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol I. individuals with Body Mass Index greater than 30 are considered obese. Obesity is not only a major risk factor to elevated levels of cholesterol, but is also a major contributor to heart related complications. Those who are obese have very high levels of triglyceride in their blood. Triglyceride makes 20% of cholesterol levels in human body. Obesity increases levels of low-density lipoprotein that are not good to the human system. It also lowers levels of high-density lipoprotein (Mokdad et al, pp. 78).

Build up of cholesterol in the blood can lead to a gravious heart complication where the arteries get hardened hence reduced flow of blood in such blood vessels. Cholesterol in the blood has a tendency to crystallize. Crystallized cholesterol can increase in size and burst thereby blocking the circulatory system. This can result in either stroke or heart attack. When the cholesterol levels in the artery get elevated, it can be compared to a freezing bottle in a freezer that on melting breaks apart and begin to float just as the crystallized cholesterol does (Shah et al, pp. 2376).

Angina is caused by high cholesterol levels in the blood. The most notable symptom of this condition is tightness in the chest and subsequent chest pain. This may impair one’s movements. Symptoms lessen after one has had some quality rest. The condition results because of lack of oxygen in the heart especially when high cholesterol levels have blocked of arteries leading to the heart. Blood flow is therefore restricted hence inadequacy of its supply to the heart. Extreme cases may cause a heart attack.

It is true that high cholesterol makes one’s cardiovascular health so vulnerable. This is also true for diabetics. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes develop serious muscular edema when the ratio between high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein is low. Higher HDL cholesterol check against increased levels of low-density lipoprotein. Macula edema is pronounced in patients with type 1diabetes who have high levels of cholesterol (Wei et al, pp. 21).

High cholesterol levels can also lead to a condition known as plaque rapture. It occurs when low-density cholesterol accumulates in the artery walls. The plaque then raptures and releases fat into the circulatory system. This blocks the arteries further. It can also lead to clogging when the clot is positioned in the opening of the artery. When the plaques clog the arteries, the arterial walls become hardened. Blood flow is normally impeded by the constriction of the arteries. Their blockage can lead to stroke or heart attack. This is a potentially dangerous heart condition. Plaque rapture can also occur.


High cholesterol has potentially dangerous effects that include plaque rapture, obesity, heart attack, stroke, angina, formation of crystallized cholesterol in blood, and obesity.

Works Cited

Castelli, William, and Keaven, Anderson. A population at risk: Prevalence of high cholesterol levels in hypertensive patients in the Framingham study. American Journal of Medicine, 80(2), 1986, 23-32.

Katan, Martijn, and Beynen, Anton. Characteristics of human hypo and hyperesponders to dietary cholesterol. American Journal of epidemiology 125.3 (1987): 387-399.

Mokdad, Ali, et al. Prevalence of Obesity, Diabetes, and Obesity-Related Health Risk Factors. Journal of American Medical Association 289.1 (2003): 76-79.

Shah, Prediman, Kaul, Sanjay, Nilsson, Jan, and Cercek, Bojan. Exploiting the vascular protective effects of HDL and its Apolipoproteins. American Heart Association 104 (2001): 2376-2383.

Wei, Ming, Haffner, Steven, Gaskill, Sharon, and Stern, Michael. Effects of diabetes and levels of glycaemia on all cause and cardiovascular mortality. America Diabetes Association.21.7(1998).

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