Q. I had a hemorrhagic stroke a few years ago. I have low cholesterol (155) with an HDL of 58 and LDL of 86.

I have never taken any cholesterol lowering drugs. I have read on your website that there is a connection between low cholesterol and a risk of bleeding stroke, but the references were old. Is there more recent evidence that low cholesterol could be a risk factor for a stroke like mine?

A. A recent review in the journal Stroke (online, May 23, 2013) analyzed data from 23 studies with more than one million participants. The analysis revealed a connection between lower cholesterol levels and a greater risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

This seems contrary to popular belief that the lower your cholesterol the healthier you are. In addition, a study from Japan involving over 80,000 adults found that the more saturated fat people consumed, the lower their risk for bleeding stroke (European Heart Journal, online, April 21, 2013).  At some point, however, increased saturated fat intake raises the risk of heart attacks. The trick seems to be finding the right balance. You will find more information on cholesterol and its role in coronary disease in our Guide to Cholesterol Control & Heart Health.  It also contains a discussion of the potential hazards of too-low cholesterol.

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  1. Paul 43

    I would like more info about this subject.

  2. fbl

    OK, where are the suggestions for increasing one’s cholesterol? I have had both a stroke and heart attack. And cancer! My # is 110.
    Yes, I eat only natural fats such as butter, real cream etc. The only thing that ever raised my cholesterol was microwave popcorn many years ago. My Dr. had a hissy fit so I stopped it. Come to find out I’m also sensitive to corn too which I’m sure didn’t help.
    Even during the low fat craze from about 30 years ago I refused to eat the unnatural oils.
    How can I raise my cholesterol?

  3. jay

    I have been taking cholesterol drug to prevent a heart attack, so now I will get a stroke. It sounds like the big drug companies have sold us on a phony expensive treatment.
    I would rather have a heart attack than a stroke after seeing this I don’t believe anything anymore. It looks like from your articles we should go with all natural treatments and not take any drug the doctors order. Big drug companies don’t care about us they just make money on expensive dangerous drugs.
    People’s Pharmacy response: Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Drugs are appropriate for serious conditions, but for everyday prevention we might want to look more to diet, exercise, and other commonsense approaches.

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