Skip to main content

22-02-2012 | Surgery | Article

High total cholesterol may be risk factor for ischemic stroke


Free abstract

MedWire News: Japanese men with high serum total cholesterol levels have an "excess" risk for stroke, report researchers.

Hiroyasu Iso (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan) and team found that men with total cholesterol levels of 6.21 mmol/L (high; 239.77 mg/dL) or above had a 1.7-fold higher risk for ischemic stroke than those with levels below 4.65 mmol/L (low; 179.54 mg/dL).

"High serum total cholesterol levels represent a risk factor of ischemic stroke in Western countries," they explain. "However, this association has not been thoroughly investigated in Asian populations where the incidence of stroke is high."

To address this, Iso and co-investigators performed a 12-year follow-up study involving 11,727 men and 21,742 women, aged 40-69 years, who were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer at baseline.

Overall, 612 ischemic strokes (293 lacunar infarctions, 107 large-artery occlusive infarctions, and 168 embolic infarctions) were reported.

The risk for stroke and large-artery occlusive infarction was a significant 1.63- and 2.86-fold higher among men with high total cholesterol levels compared with those with low levels, writes the team. But women did not show such associations.

Furthermore, each 1 mmol/L increment in total cholesterol was associated with a 14% and 30% increase in the risk for stroke and large-artery occlusive infarction, respectively.

"This report constitutes the first evidence of the excess risk for ischemic stroke for men with high serum total cholesterol levels in an Asian population," write Iso et al in Atherosclerosis.

"The appearance of this excess risk may be due to an increase in levels of serum total cholesterol among Japanese [people] during the past several decades," they suggest.

By Nikki Withers

Related topics