Cholesterol is similar to fat. Your body needs a certain amount of it to function.

Your body makes all the cholesterol you need. Certain health conditions and behaviors can increase your cholesterol.

High cholesterol can be a problem. It increases your risk of having a heart attack.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood cholesterol is considered to be 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more. A healthy cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL.

There are many possible causes of high cholesterol. This article will discuss causes that involve sudden increases in cholesterol.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the most common causes of high cholesterol include:

  • An unbalanced diet is what I eat.
  • A lack of physical activity.
  • Having a body mass index over 30

Over time, these factors tend to cause an increase in cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, a doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes to lower it. This may include:

  • Changes to your eating habits.
  • Adding more physical activity to your routine.
  • Losing weight.
  • If you smoke, you should quit.

It’s also possible for genetics to cause high cholesterol. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia.

In some cases, cholesterol can increase quickly. Possible factors that can cause cholesterol to rise quickly include:

High coffee consumption

Thanks to its caffeine content, caffeine is often associated with rapid spikes in high blood pressure. But coffee can increase your blood cholesterol levels as well.

In a small 1-week 2018 study, researchers examined the impact of daily espresso consumption in young adults. They determined that consuming an average of four espressos per day was associated with increased total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.

This cholesterol raising effect may be due to the diterpenes, or oils, in coffee. According to a 2015 article, diterpenes increase cholesterol by inhibiting bile acid synthesis.

The study notes that espresso-based drinks have more diterpenes than other drinks. Limit drinks made with espresso to reduce the risk of high cholesterol.

Psychological stress

Stress and cholesterol levels are also related.

According to a 2017 study, psychological stress can raise the risk of having high LDL and total cholesterol. This could be due to the hormone cortisol, which spikes during times of stress. High cortisol levels have a cholesterol raising effect on the body, according to a 2020 article.

To reduce the risk of high cholesterol caused by stress, try to practice stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, and breathing exercises.

Cigarette smoking

Smoking cigarettes is another possible cause of a spike in cholesterol levels. This is due to nicotine, the main ingredient in tobacco products such as cigarettes.

According to a 2021 article, during cigarette smoking, high amounts of nicotine enter the bloodstream via the lungs. This causes the body to release neurotransmitters called catecholamines.

The rise in catecholamines increases lipolysis, or lipid breakdown, which increases LDL cholesterol production. The rise in LDL cholesterol also reduces levels of HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol.

The best way to reduce the risk of smoking-induced high cholesterol is to avoid or quit cigarette smoking.


Some drugs can raise cholesterol in the body. This includes prescription drugs.

In general, these medications increase blood cholesterol levels by altering lipid metabolism. Certain medications, such as Antipsychotics., might also increase cholesterol by promoting weight gain.

Talk to a doctor about the risks of taking medication. They can determine your risk and change your medication if necessary.


During pregnancy, it’s natural for blood cholesterol to increase by 30% to 40%. That’s because cholesterol is essential for healthy fetal growth and development.

According to a 2021 scientific article, high cholesterol levels during pregnancy are related to increased levels of:

  • Both hormones and their effects on the body.
  • The placental lactogen is related to the human.
  • The resistance toinsulin

It is possible for cholesterol to increase during pregnancy. This is called maternal hypercholesterolemia.

A doctor can prescribe drugs to help manage the condition.

Rapid weight loss

Another potential cause is rapid weight loss.

In a 2019 study, three adults quickly lost weight by following very low calorie diets. In all three cases, their LDL cholesterol temporarily spiked before dropping to normal levels. According to the researchers, this might be related to changes in metabolism.

If you want to lose weight, you need to work with a healthcare professional. They can help you lose weight while also giving you guidance for health related side effects.

When your cholesterol is over 200, your blood cholesterol is high. This can be harmful for your health, as it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Some behaviors or conditions can cause sudden increases in blood cholesterol. This includes high coffee intake, rapid weight loss, cigarette smoking, and psychological stress. Being pregnant and taking certain medications, such as Antihypertensive drugs., can also quickly increase cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, you need to get a blood test. A doctor can determine if you are at risk of high cholesterol due to short-term or long-term causes.