High Cholesterol?

What are the causes of high cholesterol?

Managing cholesterol is a challenging but not impossible task. If you have high cholesterol you should work with your healthcare team to develop a strategy on how to best manage those levels.

Many factors can have an impact on your cholesterol level. Some of these factors are in your control (e.g. exercise, diet, smoking), whereas others are not (e.g. family history).

Things in Your Control


In the current era, more and more people have turned towards processed or high calorie-containing foods.

When vegetables are fried in oil, they tend to lose water and absorb fat. This fried food ends up having higher calorie content.

Did you know: A 100 gram baked potato contains approximately 93 calories and almost no fat content. But 100 grams of french fries contains around 319 calories and about 17 grams of fat.1

To take better care of your heart, you should aim to eat more healthy food.


Your good cholesterol, or HDL-C, increases if you get involved in more physical activities.

Based on your medical history and your health care provider's advice, you should dedicate a certain amount of time each day to activities like running, jogging, cycling, playing a sport, or any other aerobic activity, like going for a walk.

Any exercise is better than no exercise at all. To stay motivated, you should consider joining an exercise group or tagging along with your friends and colleagues.

Try the 20-20-20 Principle

The '20-20-20' principle comes from the book, 'The 5 a.m. Club.' The author, Robin Sharma, mentions how the top achievers in the world dedicate the first 20 minutes of their day to physical activity, followed by a 20 minute meditation and concludes by spending 20 minutes improving their knowledge by learning something new.

In the end, it's all about getting into a healthy habit and finding what works for you!


One thing many people don't realize is that smoking alters your blood cholesterol levels.

Smoking can:

  • Increase your triglyceride levels2
  • Lower your good cholesterol or HDL-C levels2

But the good news is that you can see immediate results if you quit smoking. You will feel better and can be more active when you remove tobacco from your life.2

Obesity or large waist circumference

It is essential to maintain a healthy body weight.

Some people are genetically predisposed towards obesity or large waist circumference. Both of these can increase your risk of having high cholesterol.

Obesity is typically defined by having a body mass index, also known as your BMI, greater than 30 kg/m2. The BMI calculation takes a ratio of your height and weight. You can use many online BMI calculators to calculate your BMI to know if you are overweight or obese.

Notably, there is a direct relationship with BMI and high cholesterol. For those who have a high BMI, they have an increased prevalence of high cholesterol.3

Large waist circumference is defined as 40 or more inches for men and 35 or more inches for women. The fat that accumulates around your waist is known as visceral fat and can be of particular concern as it surrounds your liver and other abdominal organs. Accumulation of visceral fat can increase your risk of elevated cholesterol4, including:

  • Increases in bad cholesterol, or LDL-C
  • Increases in triglyceride levels
  • Lower levels of good cholesterol, or HDL-C

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help lose weight, including exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.

Things Out of Your Control

Some risk factors related to having high cholesterol are out of our control. Even though you may be dedicating a reasonable amount of time to maintaining a healthy diet and involving yourself in physical activity there is still a chance you may end up having high cholesterol.

Age & Gender

As we get older, cholesterol levels tend to rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. However, after menopause, bad cholesterol or LDL-C levels tend to rise in women.

Below is a breakdown of how these changes typically occur in most people5:

  • Total Cholesterol: After age 20, your levels of total cholesterol may begin to increase. In men, it typically plateaus between the ages of 50 and 60 years, whereas in women, it reaches a plateau between 60 and 70 years of age.5
  • LDL-C: LDL-C or bad cholesterol increases progressively in men and women after the age of 20. This increase occurs more rapidly in men, accounting for most of the overall gender differences in total cholesterol.5
  • HDL-C: HDL-C, or good cholesterol, decreases in males during puberty and early adulthood. It remains lower than that of women at all comparable ages. It is interesting to note that HDL-C tends to stay constant in women throughout their lifetime. Women taking estrogen preparations tend to have higher HDL-C than women who are not taking estrogens.5
  • Triglycerides: Triglycerides increase progressively in men, reaching a peak around 40-50 years of age and then decline slightly thereafter. In women, triglyceride levels tend to increase throughout their lifetime.5

Please remember, the above information varies from person to person. It's important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly by your doctor to know where your cholesterol levels are at!

Family History

Genetics can play an important role in the levels of cholesterol in your blood. If a close relative has high cholesterol, you are more likely to also have it yourself. For example, people of certain ethnicities are more likely to have high cholesterol then others. It's important to know your family history and if you have any concerns always seek your doctor's advice.

What to do if you have high cholesterol

1 www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-fried-foods-are-bad
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2010
3 Gostynski M et al. Int J Obesity. 2004;28:1082-1090
4 Despres JP. Ann Med. 2001;33:534-41.
5 Kreisberg RA and S. Kasim. Am J Med. 1987:82(1B):54-60



ZYPITAMAG is a cholesterol-lowering medication called a "statin" that, along with a heart-healthy diet, helps to lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL-C) in adults with elevated cholesterol levels.

Who should NOT take ZYPITAMAG?

ZYPITAMAG is not right for everyone. Do not take ZYPITAMAG if:

  • You have a known allergy to ZYPITAMAG or any of its ingredients.
  • You have active liver problems.
  • You are currently taking cyclosporine or gemfibrozil.

What is the most important information I should know and talk to my doctor about?

  • Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or hives.
  • Muscle problems may be an early sign of rare, serious conditions. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness, or tenderness, particularly if accompanied by malaise or fever, or if these muscle signs or symptoms persist after discontinuing ZYPITAMAG.
  • Serious liver problems have been reported rarely in patients taking statins, including pitavastatin. Your doctor should do liver tests before you start, and if you have symptoms of liver problems while you are taking ZYPITAMAG. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you feel more tired than usual, have a loss of appetite, upper belly pain, dark-colored urine, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.
  • Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications you take including nonprescription medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
  • Increases in blood sugar levels have been reported with statins, including pitavastatin.
  • Tell your doctor about your alcohol use.
  • Tell your healthcare provider of a known or suspected pregnancy, or if breastfeeding.

What are the most common side effects of ZYPITAMAG?

The most common side effects of pitavastatin in clinical studies were:

  • Muscle pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Pain in arms or legs

This is not a complete list of side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider for more information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of all drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store and take ZYPITAMAG?

  • Store ZYPITAMAG tablets at room temperature, in a dry place, protected from light, and keep out of the reach of children.
  • Take ZYPITAMAG orally once daily, with or without food, at the same time each day.
  • Swallow the tablet whole. Do not split, crush, dissolve, or chew.
  • The maximum recommended dosage is ZYPITAMAG 4 mg once daily.
  • If you take too much ZYPITAMAG or you or someone else takes an overdose, call your doctor and/or local Poison Control Center.

Other important information I should know about ZYPITAMAG.

  • ZYPITAMAG is available by prescription only.
  • ZYPITAMAG is not approved for use in patients under 18 years of age.

For additional information, refer to full Prescribing Information.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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