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High Cholesterol At Young Age – Basics You Should Know

High Cholesterol At Young Age – Basics You Should Know

One of the earliest questions that comes up when the lipid profile shows that bold number is WHY ME? An early onset of high blood cholesterol can be due to various reasons, and is almost never due to one reason alone. It is usually a combination of more than one elements listed below:

Lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle in early years of life, coupled with excessive intake of high blood cholesterol causing foods

Lineage: It’s simply in your genes. There has been talk of screening children as young as 10 in case there is a family history of high blood cholesterol

Tobacco: While smoking does not actually cause the increase in cholesterol levels in your blood, studies have extensively found higher instances of heart disease and cholesterol levels in people who regularly smoke

What difference does age make?

A lot. Research suggests that high cholesterol levels at early age lead to an increased risk of heart disease later in life. In simple terms, you are giving more and more time for cholesterol deposits to form. But, there is good news. The younger you are, the easier it is to control high cholesterol levels, even without medication. Your twenty minutes of daily cardio will bring down the cholesterol numbers more than what it may for an older individual. Your body is also more adept at going through the physical wear and tear that your exercise schedule will demand. Younger people also tend to display better commitment and are more likely to have their tail up while fighting high cholesterol.


Medication – Do you need to start popping the pills?

Whether or not take up medication early depends on a lot of different aspects. In fact, we have an an entire post on the topic. Before getting in to a yes or no, your doctor will look at the following aspects:

  • How high are the cholesterol levels?
  • Do you have a history of allergies?
  • What other medications are you having?
  • Were you on stains previously?
  • Did you face any side effects?

Usually, doctors will recommend lifestyle changes and some exercises over a short 3-6 month period, and re-test the levels to check for improvements. Younger people tend to respond to these changes better. Medication will come in if there is no (or not sufficient) drop in cholesterol levels. Remember, your first priority has to be to bring down the cholesterol levels – do not shy away from medication if needed. There are various types of medicines available in the market today, and your physician is most likely to recommend a stain to begin with. At early stages in particular, do not self-medicate. See your physician.


Fitness – Don’t buy those running shoes just as yet

While the impact of various forms of exercises is still a matter of research, there is widespread consensus about the fact that 20 minutes of rigorous physical activity a day will do wonders for your cholesterol levels. Exercise helps reduce weight, which in turn helps reduce the LDL levels in your bloodstream. Vigorous exercise is also known to help increase HDL levels, which help flush out LDL from your body.

The type of exercise you choose is important. Here is a myth buster – Yoga is not a replacement to exercise. You need something that gets your heart pumping for a good 20-30 minutes. Running and Cycling will help, but be wary of that fact that long term long distance running will impact you knees. Hitting the gym is a great idea, provided you stay away from those cholesterol loaded whey protein shakes.

Lifestyle – It’s not just about food and fitness

Lifestyle changes are the most ignored aspects of managing cholesterol. Most people associate a diet change, or exercise as lifestyle change. Lifestyle change requires you to take up a broader spectrum of changes, such as getting good sleep, de-stressing, quitting tobacco, and overall happiness. High stress is known to induce poor eating habits and an inactive lifestyle. Lack of 7-8 hours of sleep also leads to loss of appetite and loss of interest in physical activities. How cholesterol is made in the body is not just a function of what you eat. Hormones like cortisol are released when you are under stress, increasing your LDL levels. Meditate for 15-20 minutes of day, sleep well. This is where Yoga comes in.

Talk to your family and friends. Discuss the problem, your plan to overcome it, take their opinion and tell them what support you need from them.


In summary, your long term cholesterol control plan will stand on 3 pillars:

  • Diet and Medication
  • Fitness
  • Lifestyle

Roll up your sleeves and wind up for the road ahead. The journey is as satisfying as the destination.

This article was originally published in


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