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Cholesterol and Genetics

Your family history plays a far greater role in your cholesterol levels than does your diet or your lifestyle. Your diet can have a very slight (almost imperceptible) effect on your cholesterol levels, and your overall lifestyle appears to have little or no effect on cholesterol levels at all. It is still not entirely understood whether your cholesterol level is caused almost wholly by genetics or if it is influenced by environmental factors, such as diet, smoking habits, physical activity levels, exposure to toxins, and cultural traditions.
A family history of high cholesterol does not necessarily indicate that you are destined to die of heart disease, either. The initial research study done on cholesterol levels as they relate to heart disease would not hold up to today’s rigorous standards for research, and therefore the conclusions drawn from that initial study are suspect. More recent research indicates that diet has far less influence on cholesterol levels than previously believed, and sugar intake may be a more accurate predictor of heart disease than cholesterol levels ever were. In fact, the entire question of why a substance that is so vital to our very survival came to be viewed as a veritable poison is being looked at now in a different light. The connection between high cholesterol and inflammation is also being questioned, as is the connection between high cholesterol and heart disease. Statistics show that over half of the people who have massive heart attacks have normal LDL levels, which brings into question the assumption that high levels of LDL cholesterol are a death sentence.
There is a well-established link between your cholesterol level and that of your parents, but whether that indicates a predisposition to heart disease remains to be proven. There are a multitude of factors that must be taken into account before any hard and fast conclusion is drawn from the data.