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What should my cholesterol level be?

I keep getting this same question about cholesterol! I keep telling you the thing to watch in any study is all-cause mortality, not just death from heart disease. In a study published in the  American Journal of Epidemiology, the cholesterol level issue is answered for me. It’s a 6.4-Year Follow-up Study of 482,472 Korean Men. 

The lowest mortality was in those men with total cholesterol between about 210 and 250.

“A low cholesterol level (<165 mg/100 ml) was associated with increased risk of total mortality, even after eliminating deaths that occurred in the first 5 years of follow-up. The risk of death from coronary heart disease increased significantly in men with the highest cholesterol level (£252 mg/100 ml). There were various relations between cholesterol level and cancer mortality by site. Mortality from liver and colon cancer was significantly associated with a very low cholesterol level (<135 mg/100 ml) without any evidence of a preclinical cholesterol-lowering effect. With lengthening follow-up, the significant relation between a very low cholesterol level (<135 mg/100 ml) and mortality from stomach and esophageal cancer disappeared. The cholesterol level related with the lowest mortality ranged from 211 to 251 mg/100 ml, which was higher than the mean cholesterol level of study subjects”.

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