Features October 2010 Issue

Your Cholesterol Levels May Affect Your Risk of Depression

The cholesterol-depression connection may differ between men and women.

Abnormal cholesterol levels increase the risk of stroke, and stroke increases the risk of depression. A study published in Biological Psychiatry now suggests there may be a link between cholesterol levels and depression. The connection, however, is complicated. "The study suggests that the relationship may be due not to total cholesterol, but to different cholesterol subtypes. Furthermore, men and women are affected by different subtypes," says Cleveland Clinic preventive cardiologist David Frid, MD. The researchers found that, in women, depression was associated with low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. In contrast, the men who were at greater risk of depression had low levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

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