High Blood Cholesterol in Men: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Cholesterol is essential to the body, as it is a precursor to the production of steroid hormones, such as DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. However, as with many things, too much of a good thing can become harmful. High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), especially elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, can be dangerous for your health.

As we explore LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, you will learn the difference between good and bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and total cholesterol and what they mean for your body, well-being, and life.

We aim to help you identify if you have high cholesterol by examining the symptoms, causes, and risk factors and the steps you can take to lower your high cholesterol levels. We will also discuss how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help reduce your LDL and total cholesterol levels.

What Is High Cholesterol?

Before we can discuss high cholesterol, it might help if you understand what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance produced by the liver. The body uses cholesterol to help digest fatty foods and produce essential hormones. Dietary cholesterol intake increases cholesterol levels in the body. While some dietary cholesterol is beneficial, too much increases the risk of having high cholesterol levels.

You have two different types of cholesterol in the body: LDL and HDL. Triglycerides are another form of fat that plays a role in heart health. We explain more about these types of cholesterol below:

The difference between good and bad cholesterol

what are the types of cholesterolLow-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – the so-called “bad” cholesterol is the precursor to many crucial hormones. The body converts cholesterol into pregnenolone before transforming that through enzymatic conversions into progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, and estrogen. Without adequate cholesterol, the body will suffer from hormone deficiency. High LDL cholesterol levels can stick to and clog the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – the so-called “good” cholesterol plays a vital role in the body. It removes excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, transporting it to the liver, where it is broken down into bile acids to be filtered from the body. Low HDL cholesterol levels cannot remove enough LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, leading to plaque buildup and clogging inside the arteries.

Triglycerides are the body’s most common type of fat that comes from food. The body stores extra calories as triglycerides in fat cells for later use as energy. Excess triglycerides can lead to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Total cholesterol measures low-density and high-density lipoprotein levels and triglyceride levels.

Who is more likely to have high cholesterol?

Men between 20 and 39 have a greater risk of high total cholesterol than women in that age group. The most common age for high cholesterol diagnosis for all people is between 40 and 59.

Women are at a greater risk of high LDL and total cholesterol after menopause when their HDL cholesterol levels also decline.

To learn more about your blood cholesterol levels, check out the section “How to Recognize High Cholesterol” below.

Causes of High Blood Cholesterol in Men

Because men with high cholesterol are at a higher risk of developing heart attacks, peripheral artery disease, and stroke, it is crucial to know what contributing factors can lead to these problems.

Starting in your twenties, the risk of high cholesterol in men continues to rise with age. Because high cholesterol runs in families, having a relative with hyperlipidemia is a cause for concern. Getting a cholesterol blood test is advised every five years, more often with other risk factors.

Smoking, poor diets, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise contribute to adverse cholesterol levels. Lifestyle habits are things you can control by reducing your intake of fatty foods, alcohol, and tobacco usage. You can also exercise more, reduce your stress levels, and get plenty of sleep to help your body increase hormone production, effectively lowering cholesterol.

Risk Factors for Hyperlipidemia

Many factors increase your risk of developing hyperlipidemia. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of receiving a high cholesterol diagnosis. While you cannot change everything, there are some things you can control from the lists below. Overall, men have a greater risk of having high cholesterol than women.

The following list shows some of the most common risk factors for hyperlipidemia:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics/family history
  • Obesity and weight gain
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid problems

Certain medications can also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol, including:

  • Arrhythmia medications
  • Beta-blockers
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Diuretics
  • Immunosuppressive medications
  • Retinoids
  • Steroids

Unhealthy lifestyle habits can also increase the risk of developing high cholesterol, including:

  • Consumption of unhealthy foods
  • Excess alcohol – can raise total cholesterol levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle – lack of physical activity
  • Smoking – lowers HDL cholesterol
  • Stress – causes increased cholesterol production

Ethnicity and race also play a role in who has a greater risk of developing hyperlipidemia, as follows:

  • African Americans – while they might have higher HDL levels, they may also have a greater risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure that can negate HDL cholesterol benefits
  • Asian Americans – have a greater risk of having high LDL cholesterol
  • Hispanic Americans – have lower HDL levels
  • Non-Hispanic white people – have higher total cholesterol levels
there are many risk factors that can cause high cholesterol
smoking lowers hdl levels

How to Recognize High Cholesterol

There are no “symptoms” of high cholesterol, so getting regular blood tests, especially if you have risk factors, is crucial.

The following chart shows cholesterol levels in men over 20:

Type of Cholesterol Healthy Levels
LDL cholesterol <100 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol 40 mg/dL or higher
Total cholesterol 125 – 200 mg/dL


While not a type of cholesterol, it is also crucial to know your triglyceride levels, and the reading is part of the standard lipoprotein blood panel. The chart below shows triglyceride measurements:

Category Triglyceride levels
Normal < 150 mg/dL
Borderline high 150 – 199 mg/dL
High 200 – 499 mg/dL
Very high 500 mg/dL and higher


If your total cholesterol exceeds 240 mg/dL, you are at a greater risk of developing heart disease. LDL cholesterol levels higher than 160 mg/dL become worrisome, with 190 mg/dL or higher a significant concern. Having higher HDL cholesterol levels can offset these risks to a certain extent, but if your HDL levels are lower than 40 mg/dL, which becomes an additional issue.

Knowing these numbers can help you take steps to lower your high cholesterol levels.

How Human Growth Hormone Helps Cope With High Cholesterol

Human growth hormone (HGH) significantly influences cholesterol levels in the body. HGH decreases LDL cholesterol levels by augmenting liver LDL receptor activity.

Studies have shown that plasma LDL (bad) cholesterol levels increase with adult-onset human growth hormone deficiency. HGH therapy has been shown to decrease LDL and total cholesterol levels. Plasma HDL (good) levels often decrease in individuals with low human growth hormone levels. Increasing HGH levels with human growth hormone therapy may boost HDL cholesterol levels to help remove additional LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

HGH therapy also improves metabolism, helping the body burn fat and reduce excess weight, a crucial factor in developing high cholesterol. Adults with growth hormone deficiency tend to have increased adipose abdominal tissue, increasing cardiovascular morbidity, insulin resistance susceptibility, and mortality. Because HGH also improves insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake by the cells, it reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – another hyperlipidemia risk factor.

Another study shows that following 24 months of HGH therapy, adults experienced a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for those men with low testosterone levels can also help get cholesterol levels in line.

Low HGH levels are also associated with an increase in cortisol production. Cortisol opposes both HGH and testosterone, another hormone that can help lower cholesterol levels. Growth hormone has a direct impact on testosterone production. Since cortisol is the stress hormone, this provides another reason to reduce stress levels in the body to help increase HGH and testosterone production to lower cholesterol levels.

HGH Therapy

Contact us to find out if human growth hormone therapy is right for you.

What If Hyperlipidemia Goes Untreated?

Untreated hyperlipidemia can lead to significant problems when your HDH cholesterol cannot remove enough LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream. You have an increased risk of developing atherosclerotic plaque leading to blockages and hardening in your arteries.

Problems that can occur from these issues include:

  • Acute coronary syndrome – an umbrella term for unstable angina or heart attack
  • Heart attack – occurs when not enough oxygen can reach the heart due to reduced blood flow from blocked arteries
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) – most common in the legs, PAD occurs when plaque buildup in the peripheral arteries reduces blood flow to the extremities and other parts of the body (can also increase heart attack risk)
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – a TIA is a warning sign that a stroke is possible as it is a temporary blood flow blockage due to a blood clot in an artery (symptoms are temporary as the clot dissolves on its own)
  • Aortic aneurysm – when an arterial wall weakens, it widens or balloons out, causing an aneurysm; in the case of the aorta, it occurs in the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body
  • Blood clots – a blood clot can form when the blood cannot move freely through the clogged artery, which can then break away and block another artery or vein, causing a stroke or heart attack

Lifestyle Changes For Healthy Cholesterol Levels

One of the most significant changes you can make is reducing your intake of saturated fats, which includes baked goods, red meat, whole milk dairy products, chocolate (opt for dark chocolate as a healthier choice), processed foods, and deep-fried foods.

Here is a list of things you can do right now to help lower your high cholesterol levels:

Dietary changes:

  • Avoid refined foods, packaged snack foods, and commercially baked goods that contain shortening
  • Reduce saturated and trans fats to less than 6% of your total daily calories
  • Decrease sugar consumption
  • Reduce intake of dairy from whole milk
  • Decrease consumption of red meat, shrimp, egg yolks, and animal organs
  • Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, flaxseed, tofu, beans, nuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds, fish (salmon, tuna, trout, herring, mackerel, sardines), and poultry
  • Choose heart-healthy unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado, and sesame oil

Keep your weight in check – excess weight increases LDL and decreases HDL cholesterol.

Engage in regular exercise or physical activity – 150 minutes or more per week (or 30 minutes daily) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can help lower cholesterol levels.

Limit alcohol consumption.

Do not smoke – quitting smoking can help increase HDL cholesterol to remove LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream.

Reduce stress – chronic stress can increase LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels.

The more changes you can make, the better off you will be. Lowering your cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes, getting tested for HGH and testosterone deficiency, and taking positive actions can improve your overall health.

Frequently asked questions about high cholesterol (FAQs)

High cholesterol can result in arterial blockage, decreasing blood flow to the penis. Men with high cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

Red meat, baked goods, whole milk dairy products, milk or white chocolate, processed foods, and deep-fried foods are among the worst foods you can consume if you have high cholesterol.

Total cholesterol higher than 200 mg/dL is considered high, but anything over 240 mg/dL puts you at a greater risk of developing heart disease.

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Brooklyn, New York 11224

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