What’s the secret to good heart health? Well, the obvious answer for most of us might be low LDL levels. For the uninitiated, LDL or low-density lipoprotein is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol” because of its propensity to make you more prone to heart disease.
But if you thought that keeping your LDL levels low might be the secret to a long, healthy life—boy, we’ve got some news for you. In today’s dose of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, a study has found that too little levels of LDL can increase your chances of having a bleeding stroke.
What’s a bleeding stroke you ask? Also known as a haemorraghic stroke, it is characterized by bleeding in the brain caused either by a blood vessel leak or a brain aneurysm. No points for guessing that a haemorraghic stroke has a fairly high mortality rate.
The large-scale study, published in the journal Neurology, examined over 90,000 participants who had no history of stroke, heart attack, or cancer at the beginning of the research. After examining the participants for nine years, the researchers came to the conclusion that people with LDL levels lower than 50 mg/dl had 169% higher chances of suffering from a haemorraghic stroke than those with levels between 70 – 99 mg/dl.
Senior author, Xiang Gao—associate professor of nutritional sciences and director of Nutritional Epidemiology Lab at Pennsylvania State University, US—said: “We observed that the risk of hemorrhagic stroke increased in individuals with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dl. This observation, if confirmed, has important implications for treatment targets.”
“And, if you’re at a high risk for hemorrhagic stroke due to family history or risk factors like high blood pressure and heavy alcohol drinking, you may want to be extra careful about LDL cholesterol levels,” he added.
So what now? Well, while we wait for more scientific research to confuse us even further, let us conclude with this: moderation is key. If you want to live a healthy and happy life, it is imperative that you neither indulge too much, nor refrain completely. Balance, our dear readers, is elementary—and essential!