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Beware the dangers of low cholesterol

High cholesterol can be a warning that your heart is headed for trouble, but low cholesterol can be a warning sign of disease too.

Research shows that people with low cholesterol are more likely to die from cancer and respiratory and digestive diseases -- not diseases related to clogged arteries. One study found that people with low cholesterol also had low levels of antioxidants. Researchers believe low levels of antioxidants can put your body at greater risk of free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to disease.

Another study found that when elderly people have low cholesterol and low levels of albumin, a blood protein, their risk of dying goes up substantially. In the stud of over 900 healthy people in their 70s, those with low albumin and low cholesterol levels were 3.6 times more likely to die within a 3-year period compared to those with higher levels.

Low cholesterol levels may also contribute to poor mental health. A recent study found that women with very low levels of cholesterol were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. More than a third of the women with low cholesterol scored high on tests designed to measure degrees of depression. Only about one-fifth of the women n the study with higher levels of cholesterol scored high on the depression scale.

These studies aren't suggesting that you should try to keep your cholesterol levels high. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. If your doctor says your cholesterol levels are too low, talk with him about your diet and follow his advice.

     
     

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