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Having very low cholesterol DOES DOUBLE the risk of hemorrhagic strokes in women, study finds

Having very low cholesterol DOES DOUBLE the risk of hemorrhagic strokes in women, study finds

  • Researchers measured levels of LDL cholesterol, known as ‘bad’ because it can accumulate in the arteries
  • For LDL cholesterol, optimal values ​​are generally less than 100 milligrams per deciliter of blood
  • But 0.8% of women with 70 mg / dL or lower cholesterol had a bleeding stroke compared to 0.4% of women with cholesterol between 100-130 mg / dL
  • The triglyceride levels of women, fat found in the blood, were also measured
  • Those with the lowest levels had almost double the risk of stroke compared to women with the highest levels

A very low cholesterol level increases the risk of hemorrhagic strokes in women.

Researchers say that women with low cholesterol levels were twice as likely to have a stroke that leads to bleeding in the brain compared to women with average levels.

In addition, women with the lowest levels of Triglycerides, fat found in the blood, had an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke compared to those with the highest levels.

Lowering cholesterol and fat levels in the blood has long been promoted as ways to minimize the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The team, led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, says the findings prove that women with very low levels of cholesterol or triglycerides should be closely monitored by their doctors to reduce their stroke.

A new study by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, has shown that women with 70 mg / dL cholesterol were twice as likely to have a stroke as compared to women with 100 mg / dL (file image)

A new study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, has shown that women with 70 mg / dL cholesterol were twice as likely to have a stroke as compared to women with 100 mg / dL (file image)

There are two types of cholesterol. The first is LDL, known as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it can accumulate in the arteries and lead to various health problems.

The second is HDL, known as ‘good’ cholesterol because the cholesterol from other parts of the body returns to the liver, which then removes the cholesterol from the body.

Levels of cholesterol are generally measured as milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg / dL). For HDL, the number should be higher than 60 mg / dL and, for LDL, optimally generally less than 100 mg / dL.

For the new study, published in the journal Neurology, the team looked at nearly 28,000 women aged 45 or over who were enrolled in the Women’s Health Study.

The WHS, run by Brigham, investigated the effects of low doses of aspirin and vitamin E in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

All women had their total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides measured at the start of the study.

In a follow-up period of approximately 20 years, the team found around 140 women who had bleeding bleeding.

Haemorrhagic strokes, which occur when a weakened vessel ruptures the brain and bleeds into the organ, make up about 13 percent of the stroke cases, according to the American Stroke Association.

Although they occur less frequently than ischemic strokes, that is, when blood flow to the brain is blocked, they are more difficult to treat and therefore more deadly.

About 0.8 percent of women with 70 mg / dL or lower cholesterol had a bleeding stroke compared to 0.4 percent of women with cholesterol between 100 mg / dL and 130 mg / dL.

This means that women with very low LDL cholesterol were more than twice as likely to have a hemorrhagic stroke.

In addition, researchers discovered that 0.6 percent of women with the lowest levels had a bleeding stroke compared to 0.4 percent of women with the highest levels – meaning that women with low levels had double the risk.

“Strategies to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, such as adjusting the diet or taking statins, are widely used to prevent cardiovascular disease,” said co-author Dr. Pamela Rist, an associated epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

‘But our major research shows that at low levels, there can also be a lot of risks. Women already have a higher risk of stroke than men, partly because they live longer, so it is important to clearly define how they can reduce their risk. ”

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