Stress And High Cholesterol – Does Stress Increase Cholesterol?


A connection between stress and high cholesterol has been revealed in a scientific study. If you do not handle stress well, you could be unknowingly increasing your LDL or bad cholesterol levels, according to researchers in London.

The exact mechanics behind why cholesterol levels increase during times of stress is not fully understood. However, evidence shows that if you let the daily pressures of life get under your skin; you run the risk of high cholesterol levels over the coming years.

Stress and High Cholesterol – The Study

A research team at University College in London found the correlation between stress and high cholesterol levels while performing tests on approximately 200 middle-aged government workers.

None of the men and women who participated in the study had a history of heart disease or other related heart illnesses such as hypertension (high blood pressure).

The participants had a blood sample taken before performing moderately stressful mental skill tests. Immediately following the tests, the men and women in the study had a second blood sample taken. The participants where followed up with a third blood test three years later.

Cholesterol levels rose in all participants, to varying degrees, after the stressful mental skill tests. This revealed an initial correlation between high cholesterol and stress.

Even more interesting were the discoveries from the blood tests taken three years later. In the blood sample taken three years after the mental skills tests, the participants who experienced higher amounts of stress during the tests showed a greater increase of blood cholesterol than those who experienced lower amounts of stress during the tests. (1)

Reasons For The Connection Between Stress And High Cholesterol

The study was significant because it simulated everyday stressful situations. Therefore, if you react to daily challenges with stress, you may be at higher risk of elevated cholesterol. High cholesterol levels can raise your risk of coronary heart disease.

Researchers have different theories to explain the relation between stress and cholesterol. One theory is that when your body is under stress it generates more energy through the breakdown of fatty acids and glucose. This can result in increased secretions of LDL cholesterol by the liver.

Other theories state that your body may produce more lipids or have difficulty removing excess cholesterol during periods of stress.

Dealing With Stress And High Cholesterol

Research studies that reveal a link between high cholesterol and stress are helpful in the fight against heart disease. However, it is the responsibility of you as an individual to take the information from research studies and apply what you learn to improving your heart health.

You will not be able to avoid stressful situation completely but the important fact that comes from research is that your reaction to the stressful situation counts. You can teach yourself how to handle stress better. Through healthy living practices such as regular physical activity, meditation, proper rest, and counseling, you can learn to cope with life’s challenges.

A secondary connection between stress and high cholesterol is how stress affects your habits. You may find yourself turning to comfort foods high in sugar and fat such as chocolate and fast foods. If you smoke or drink, you may find yourself turning to these substances in hopes of lowering your stress level.

You cannot control all of the factors that affect your cholesterol level but you do have some control over stress, diet, exercise, smoking, and other habits, which can make a significant impact on your blood cholesterol profile.

To find out ways that you can start lowering your cholesterol level naturally, download this free report: Cholesterol Lowering Secrets. Get started today on building a healthier tomorrow.

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References:(1) Earth Times (2005). Stress leads to high blood cholesterol levels: study.