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Extremely Low LDL Cholesterol May Up Stroke Risk

Higher hemorrhagic stroke risk seen for individuals with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <70 mg/dL

WEDNESDAY, July 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Cholesterol levels that are too low may increase the risk for hemorrhagic stroke, according to a study published online July 2 in Neurology.

Chaoran Ma, M.D., from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and colleagues examined the association between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) risk among 96,043 participants (mean age, 51.3 years) in the Kailuan study (China) who were free of stroke, myocardial infarction, and cancer at baseline (2006). Serum LDL-C concentrations were measured in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012.

The researchers identified 753 incident ICH cases during nine years of follow-up. There was a similar ICH risk among participants with LDL-C concentrations of 70 to 99 mg/dL versus ≥100 mg/dL. However, among participants with LDL-C concentrations <70 mg/dL, there was a significantly higher risk for developing ICH compared with LDL-C concentrations of 70 to 99 mg/dL; adjusted hazard ratios were 1.65 for LDL-C concentrations of 50 to 69 mg/dL and 2.69 for <50 mg/dL.

“As is true with many things in nutrition, moderation and balance is key when deciding the optimal target level of LDL-C,” a coauthor said in a statement. “You can’t go to either extreme — too high or too low. And if you’re at a high risk for hemorrhagic stroke due to family history or risk factors like high blood pressure and heavy alcohol drinking, you may want to be extra careful about LDL-C levels.”

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