Aside from high cholesterol increasing the risk of heart disease, new research suggests that it may also be bad for the bones. The study included 1303 postmenopausal women with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-the "bad" cholesterol-and showed that they were more likely to show signs of bone thinning, compared with women with normal cholesterol. Although the findings do not prove that high cholesterol is the reason for bone thinning, the results give a possible explanation for studies suggesting that statins protect bones, researchers reported in Obstetrics and Gynecology (November 2003). In the new study, women aged 45 to 65 who had gone through menopause had their bone density measured and cholesterol levels tested. The participants were separated into 3 groups based on LDL levels: normal (129 mg/dL), moderately high (130-150 mg/dL), and high (160 mg/dL and above). Women with high LDL levels were 74% more likely to have osteopenia, a bone-thinning condition not unlike osteoporosis, compared with women with normal LDL levels. Osteopenia was also more prevalent in older women and those with a low body mass index. Plus, the longer it had been since menopause, the greater the odds of having bone thinning, according to the report.