What Is the Link Between Stress and High Cholesterol in Men?

key points about the link between stress and cholesterolThere is a definite link between high cholesterol and stress in males.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in your blood. There are two types of cholesterol – LDL cholesterol, which is the so-called bad cholesterol, and HDL, which is known as “good cholesterol.” Too much of the bad kind is what is meant by having “high cholesterol.” High cholesterol can lead to several health issues, the worst of which is an increased risk of heart disease or sudden heart attack or stroke, because of the narrowing of arteries due to the buildup of cholesterol deposits known as “plaque” in the walls of blood vessels.

Many things can lead to high cholesterol, including stress. Since males, especially middle-aged men tend to lead quite stressful lives, stress is definitely a risk factor for high cholesterol and heart disease in men. The good news is that if you take action to control stress, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels. In addition, high cholesterol is quite treatable and manageable. In addition to managing stress, exercising more and making better “heart-healthy” food choices can sometimes be all that is needed to lower cholesterol. Beyond that, there are several effective cholesterol lowering drugs available, and in many cases, growth hormone replacement therapy has been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels while raising “good” cholesterol.

How Does Stress Affect Cholesterol Levels in Males?

Studies have found that stress does indeed impact cholesterol levels, particularly causing increased levels of “bad” cholesterol, but the exact mechanism of action as to how or why remains unclear. One of the main reasons seems to be the connection between stress and hormone levels and hormone balances.

Stress triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response. That causes an increase in cortisol and other hormones. Cortisol and other fight-or-flight hormones can act to directly increase cholesterol because one of their functions is to maximize sugar in the blood, so you have the energy to flee danger or to fight to save your life. One of those bodily fuels is an increase in triglycerides. High triglycerides, in turn, raise cholesterol levels.

The problem with men who are under everyday stress is that work pressures, bills, parenting, and relationship issues, raise stress, and trigger the fight or flight response, but you really are not in physical danger that has you actually run or fight. So, the sugars and triglycerides just build up in the blood instead of getting used, which leads to high cholesterol, obesity, and other issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

A 2013 study found a positive correlation between people who had significant stress on the job and unhealthful cholesterol levels.

Another study, this one published in 2017, proved the connection between psychological stress and increased triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.

stress has an impact on cholesterol levels but the exact mechanism is unknown
stress can be caused by various factors

Indirect Effects of Stress on Cholesterol

In addition to directly raising cholesterol, as mentioned above, cortisol, the so-called stress hormone, lowers the levels of other hormones, such as testosterone and HGH, that have an impact on fat metabolism. So, if you are in a state of constant or chronic stress, you have high cortisol levels and a decreased metabolism and ability to burn fat, which leads to obesity and higher cholesterol levels.

Also, stress can lead to stress overeating, which again can lead to obesity and higher cholesterol levels.

Another possible mechanism of action as to why stress can increase cholesterol levels is that some researchers have found that stress causes a condition known as hemoconcentration, which is a situation where the blood loses fluid. The loss of fluid causes the non-liquid components of blood – including cholesterol – to become elevated. This could be another indirect way that stress can cause high cholesterol.

How Does Stress Affect Overall Heart Health?

Stress causes many health issues. Stress can increase inflammation which can be a systemic problem affecting everything from digestion to brain and heart function.

There is no doubt that stress can and does have a negative impact on your overall heart health. Stress not only raises your bad cholesterol levels, as we have seen, which puts you at increased risk for heart disease, but it also impacts your heart health in both direct and indirect ways.

Indirectly, stress can decrease your heart health by encouraging “at risk” behaviors that can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as the following:

  • Stress overeating
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Eating “junk” or “comfort foods”
  • Depression leading to a lack of exercise and physical activity

More directly, stress can have a negative impact on overall heart health by causing:

  • Irregular heart rates
  • Increased systemic inflammation, which could include inflammation of heart muscle and tissue
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Reduced or restricted blood flow to the heart

Hormone Replacement Therapy

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How to Manage Stress

Stress may be an unfortunate fact of life that cannot be avoided, particularly for men, but it can be managed. Making serious efforts to reduce stress will not only help to lower your cholesterol levels, but stress reduction has a number of other health benefits, including improving your overall heart health and lowering your risk of a serious cardiovascular incident such as stroke or heart attack.

Here are some proven ways to reduce stress:

  • Practice some relaxation – Give yourself some kind of a break every day. At some point, walk away from your desk and practice this relaxation technique. If you can’t get away – do it at your desk. Slowly take a deep breath in, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Do this at a 2:1 count; in other words, inhale for four seconds, and exhale for 8. At the same time, just let go – smile, and say something positive like, “I am r-e-l-a-x-e-d.”
  • Practice acceptance. Many people get distressed over things they won’t let themselves accept. Often these are things that can’t be changed. Try accepting the things you can’t change – and stop stressing over them.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. It is recommended that you get at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Get organized. Develop a realistic schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation.
  • Exercise. Exercise is not just good for your physical well-being, it is a great stress buster, and it creates endorphins, which improve your emotional outlook as well.
  • Reduce time urgency. Slow down – pace, not race; if you are the kind of person who frequently checks your watch, learn to take things a bit more slowly.
  • Disarm yourself. Leave behind your “weapons” of blaming, shouting, having the last word, and putting someone else down.
  • Quiet time. Find something you like doing and – do it. Balance your family, social, and work demands with a hobby or other private time.
  • Learn to delegate. You can’t be responsible all the time; stop trying to do everything yourself and start getting help from others.
  • Talk to friends and Maintain Positive Relationships. Friendship is good medicine. Daily doses of conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of deep feelings and thoughts are excellent stress reducers.
  • Pursue a favorite hobby. Find the time to do what gives you pleasure and takes you out of the fast lane.

How Can HGH Help Control Cholesterol Levels in Men?

Human growth hormone, or HGH, plays an important role in heart health and cholesterol levels. That is why one of the many benefits of growth hormone therapy for men – particularly men who are obese or suffering from metabolic syndrome – is reduction of “bad” cholesterol and improved heart health.

HGH levels drop as men age. This “age-related growth hormone deficiency” (GHD) slows down metabolism, which in turn leads to increased fat storage. This can lead to obesity and related problems such as high cholesterol.

Men suffering from low HGH due to age-related GHD tend to have high “bad” cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that older men, in particular, who are suffering from age-related growth hormone deficiency, are also more likely to be overweight, have heart problems, and have high cholesterol. These same studies indicate that HGH replacement therapy can boost metabolism, increase your ability to burn fat, and lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels. Those same studies have found that HGH not only lowers your bad cholesterol but can increase your levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.

For example, A study published in the medical journal Clinical Endocrinology found that when given HGH injections for six months, treatment with HGH can reduce serum cholesterol concentrations.

A 24-month clinical trial on the effects of HGH on cholesterol concluded that “significant reductions were observed in total cholesterol.”

And since this page has been, in large part, a discussion about stress and high cholesterol, it is important to point out that HGH injection therapy has also been found to have a similar effect as antidepressants in lowering feelings of stress and anxiety. This, then, is another way that HGH replacement therapy can lower cholesterol and improve heart health.


Stress can cause several negative health issues in males, not the least of which is high cholesterol and an increased risk of heart disease. You can lower your cholesterol levels by reducing stress and making some other lifestyle changes. However, if that is not enough to bring down your high bad cholesterol, growth hormone replacement therapy for men has been shown to be a quite safe and effective way to lower your cholesterol and improve heart health overall.

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