Author(s): Ives DG, Bonino P, Traven ND, Kuller LH, Ives DG, Bonino P, Traven ND, Kuller LH
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Low serum cholesterol has been associated with morbidity and mortality in the elderly. This study compared the health, functional status, and two-year mortality rates of community-dwelling rural elderly with serum cholesterol < 150 mg/dl to age- and sex-matched controls with serum cholesterol 200-240 mg/dl. METHODS: Self-reported disease history, disability, health habits, and cognitive function data were collected at a health risk appraisal interview. A single blood sample was also collected and analyzed for total serum cholesterol at a central lab. RESULTS: Of the 3,874 participants, 109 (2.8\%) had total cholesterol levels < 150 mg/dl. Seventy-five percent of the low cholesterol group were male compared to 44\% in the main study population. The low cholesterol group had significantly greater smoking history, current cigarettes smoked, diabetes history, angina and COPD symptoms, and assistance needed for heavy and light work. Men in the low cholesterol group had significantly lower blood pressure. After two years, 14 (12.8\%) of the low cholesterol group had died vs 16 (7.3\%) in the control group. There was no relationship to specific causes of death and cholesterol level. CONCLUSION: A very low cholesterol level in older individuals should be evaluated carefully to determine whether it is due to genetic or life-style factors such as diet or, more likely, is a marker of disease.
This article was published in J Gerontol
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research