There are many things that increase your risk of having high cholesterol. But not all risk factors can be changed. What's increasing your risk of high cholesterol?

Things you can't change

While some cholesterol comes from your diet, about 80% of cholesterol is made in the liver. The production of cholesterol in your liver is affected by your family history (genetics) and how your liver functions. This means that your diet and lifestyle are not the only things causing high cholesterol levels. Your risk of high cholesterol also increases with age.

Certain medical conditions can also increase your risk, including:

  • diabetes
  • untreated underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • certain types of liver disease
  • chronic kidney problems

Additionally, some medications can increase the risk of high cholesterol, including:

  • certain progestins found in birth control pills and medications to treat menopause symptoms
  • steroids
  • certain blood pressure medications

Things you can change

There are some things you can change that will affect your risk of high cholesterol:

  • being overweight
  • poor dietary habits
  • smoking
  • not getting enough exercise

Concerned you may be at risk for high cholesterol? Do some of these risk factors hit close to home? Talk to your doctor about having your cholesterol levels tested.