Low cholesterol increases overall risk of death

Part 3: Conclusion

Recovery from existing heart failure also takes longer if you have lower cholesterol.

In an analysis of 1,134 patients with heart disease, low cholesterol was associated with worse outcomes and lower survival rates, while high cholesterol improved survival rates.[1] This study also showed that high cholesterol among patients was not associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, or coronary heart disease.

So if your doctor tells you that your cholesterol is high and he wants to put you on cholesterol-lowering drugs, you might like to reflect on the fact that taking them may well shorten your life — particularly if you approaching or above the age of 50.[2] Which all rather makes a nonsense of the cholesterol hypothesis.

But then, cholesterol is only a 'risk factor' for coronary heart disease — and even that risk factor disappeared when a narrow age group was considered. It doesn't cause the condition; it merely shows some statistical association with various coronary events.

In this respect it is similar to several hundred other 'risk factors'. A diagonal earlobe crease and premature baldness are also 'risk factors' for heart disease but correcting them with plastic surgery or a hair transplant is not going to prevent coronary disease — and neither does lowering cholesterol.


1. Horwich, et al. Low serum total cholesterol is associated with marked increase in mortality in advanced heart failure. J Cardiac Fail 2002; 4: 216-224.

2. Steffens DC, McQuoid DR, Krishnan KR. Cholesterol-lowering medication and relapse of depression. Psychopharmacology Bull 2003; 37: 92-98

Part 1. Overall Death -1 | Part 2. Overall Death -2 | Part 3. Overall Death -3
Part 4: Young deaths
Part 5: Middle aged deaths
Part 6: Elderly Death — 1 | Part 7: Elderly Death — 2 | Part 8: Elderly Death — 3

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Last updated: December 9, 2011