Low cholesterol causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Mohamed Moubarak, M.D. [2]


Low cholesterol level can be caused by various factors, with malabsorption and malnutrition being the most common. Genetic, metabolic, liver disease, and drug side effect were also reported to cause low cholesterol level.


Life Threatening Causes

Life-threatening causes include conditions which may result in death or permanent disability within 24 hours if left untreated. Low cholesterol in itself is not a life threatening condition.

Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Shock
Chemical/Poisoning No underlying causes
Dental No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Levothyroxine, statins
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Adrenal insufficiency, hyperthyroidism, levothyroxine
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Failure to thrive, liver disease, malabsorption
Genetic Abetalipoproteinemia , apo A-I deficiency, familial alphalipoprotein deficiency, hypobetalipoproteinemia , Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
Hematologic Beta thalassemia,[1][2] leukemia[3]
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Shock
Musculoskeletal/Orthopedic No underlying causes
Neurologic Apo A-I deficiency
Nutritional/Metabolic Cachexia, celiac disease, failure to thrive, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption , malnutrition, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Leukemia[3]
Ophthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose/Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal/Electrolyte Manganese deficiency
Rheumatology/Immunology/Allergy Celiac disease
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma No underlying causes
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous No underlying causes

Causes in Alphabetical Order


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tassiopoulos T, Stamatelos G, Zakopoulos N, Fessas P, Eliopoulos GD (1995). "Low incidence of acute myocardial infarction in beta-thalassaemia trait carriers". Haematologia (Budap). 26 (4): 199–203. PMID 7590514.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Maioli M, Pettinato S, Cherchi GM, Giraudi D, Pacifico A, Pupita G; et al. (1989). "Plasma lipids in beta-thalassemia minor". Atherosclerosis. 75 (2–3): 245–8. PMID 2712866.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pandolfino J, Hakimian D, Rademaker AW, Tallman MS (1997). "Hypocholesterolemia in hairy cell leukemia: a marker for proliferative activity". Am J Hematol. 55 (3): 129–33. PMID 9256291.

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