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- Memory loss. A recent study of almost 10,000 people in northern California found that people who had high cholesterol levels in their 40s were about 50 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer?s disease than those with low cholesterol levels midlife. Although the greatest risks were seen in people with total cholesterol levels of 249 to 500 milligrams/deciliter, even cholesterol levels of 221 to 248 raised risks by about 30 percent. A study from France found that at age 55, people with 40 mg/dL or less of high-density lipoproteins (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) were 27 percent more likely to experience memory loss than their counterparts with high HDL levels (above 60 mg/dL). By age 60, the increase in memory loss risk for those with low HDL rose to 53 percent compared to the high HDL group.
Reviewed By: Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC