The relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is not as tight as some people think. Variation in cholesterol only accounts for about 15 per cent, one five per cent of the variation in risk of heart attack.

So in general, people with a high cholesterol are at higher risk and people with a lower cholesterol are relatively protected. But there are people with high cholesterol who can live until they’re 90 and people with a low cholesterol who if they smoke, for example, can have a heart attack when they’re 35.

Professor David Celermajer is Scandrett Professor of Cardiology and Head of Cardiology at the University of Sydney.

Last Reviewed: 30/09/2020

myDr

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