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Researchers Disproves Cholesterol Hypothesis: No Linked Found Between Bad Cholesterol and Elderly Deaths

Jun 28, 2016 07:24 AM EDT
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A new international study revealed that older people with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C), or most commonly known as the "bad cholesterol", tend to live as long and often longer than those who have lower levels of the same cholesterol.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, might potentially disprove the "cholesterol hypothesis", which previously suggested that people with high levels of LDL-C have higher risk of dying and would most likely need statin drugs to lower their cholesterol levels.

"Our findings provide a contradiction to the cholesterol hypothesis," explained David Diamond, a professor at University of South Florida, in a statement. "That hypothesis predicts that cardiovascular disease starts in middle age as a result of high LDL-C cholesterol, worsens with aging, and eventually leads to death from cardiovascular disease. We did not find that trend. If LDL-C is accumulating in arteries over a lifetime to cause heart disease, then why is it that elderly people with the highest LDL-C live the longest? Since people over the age of 60 with high LDL-C live the longest, why should we lower it?"

For the study, researchers analyzed past studies involving more than 68,000 participants over 60 years of age. The study is the first review of a large group of prior studies tackling the issue of bad cholesterol and elderly deaths.

In each study they have analyzed, researchers noted that there is a lack of association between LDL-C and cardiovascular deaths. Other study also suggests that high LDL-C levels might be beneficial in preventing diseases common in the elderly. High levels of bad cholesterol were also linked to lower risk of neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Some studies also stated that high LDL-C levels may also prevent the development of cancer and infectious diseases.

With their findings, researchers are now urging health officials to reconsider the use of statin in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in older adults.

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