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Causes of Very Low Cholesterol Levels

Low Cholesterol Can Be Caused By Your Genes or Other Medical Conditions


Updated May 06, 2014

Hypolipidemia is a condition that is characterized by very low cholesterol levels. Although having low cholesterol levels is considered healthy in terms of cardiovascular disease, some studies suggest that very low cholesterol levels could negatively affect your health.

There are two main classifications of hypolipidemia - primary and secondary hypolipidemia. Primary hypolipidemia is usually due to an inherited condition, whereas secondary hypolipidemia is mostly due to some type of medical condition. The following medical conditions have been associated with causing very low cholesterol levels:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Cancer
  • Chronic infections or inflammation
By treating these conditions, you may be able to correct low cholesterol levels. Cholesterol-lowering medications can also cause secondary hypolipidemia. Discontinuing these medications, after discussing this with your healthcare provider, would increase very low cholesterol levels.


The Merck Manual of Diagnosis of Therapy, 18th edition. 2006.

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