Posted by: thaishin | March 21, 2010

Q and A on High Cholesterol (I)

Taken from Chicago Tribune on March 21, 2010.

Q: My total cholesterol is 140, my LDL is 55 and my HDL is 47. I am on simvastatin. My chiropractor believes that my numbers are too low for me to be on medication. He says the brain is made up of cholesterol, and we need a certain amount. I am confused. My doctor thinks these numbers are great and wants me to stay on the drug.

A: This topic is highly controversial. Many physicians believe that the lower the cholesterol, the healthier the heart. Cholesterol is essential for every cell in the body. It is a building block for hormones like estrogen, testosterone and vitamin D. Although studies are scarce, there is evidence that low total cholesterol (below 180) is associated with a higher risk of death in older people (Lancet, Aug. 4, 2001; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, July 2003). In addition, low LDL cholesterol (below 80) has been linked to a higher risk of bleeding stroke (Circulation, Apr. 28, 2009). Don’t stop your medicine without discussing this issue further with your doctor.

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