Clinically relevant cholesterol elevation in anxiety disorders: A comparison with normal controls

  • Helmut Peter
  • Philipp Goebel
  • Susanne Müller
  • Iver Hand


Recently, several studies reported elevated cholesterol levels in panic disorder, agoraphobia, and general anxiety disorder, but the clinical relevance is still unsettled. All studies so far have disregarded the possible influence of dietary and physical exercise factors. In this study, 30 patients with different anxiety disorders and 30 normal controls were compared for total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio. Dietary and physical exercise habits were measured by self-rating questionnaires. Patients with anxiety disorders had significantly elevated total cholesterol, LDL, and cholesterol/HDL ratios. Patients showed borderline-high or high cholesterol levels almost 3 times as often as control participants. Anxiety-specific avoidance of physical exercise and special dietary habits of anxiety patients had a significant but minor impact on differences in cholesterol between both groups. Our data support the assumption that serum cholesterol elevations in anxiety disorder patients are within a clinically relevant range.

Key words

anxiety disorders cholesterol LDL cholesterol/HDL ratio physical exercise dietary habits 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helmut Peter
    • 1
  • Philipp Goebel
    • 1
  • Susanne Müller
    • 1
  • Iver Hand
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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