Can your total cholesterol level be too low?

Answers from Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.

A high blood cholesterol level increases your risk of coronary artery disease. Lower cholesterol is usually better, but in rare cases having a low level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol or a low total cholesterol level could increase your risk of some health problems. Doctors are still trying to find out more about the connection between low cholesterol and health risks.

Although the risks are rare, low levels of LDL cholesterol may increase your risk of:

  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Preterm birth and low birth weight if your cholesterol is low while you're pregnant

These conditions should be considered if your cholesterol suddenly drops significantly, without any other explanation, such as taking cholesterol medications, dieting or exercise. If you're concerned about your cholesterol level, consult your doctor. He or she can determine the cholesterol range most appropriate for you.

Dec. 14, 2012 See more Expert Answers