Can high cholesterol cause blood clots?

My dad had a cholesterol level of 400 last time he checked and recently had a pulmonary embolism. Could his cholesterol have been the cause?


  • Cholesterol is not involved in the blood clots that lead to pulmonary emboli. Elevated cholesterol is involved in blockages in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and a clot can form at the site and lead to heart attacks or strokes. The type of clot that forms at sites of atherosclerosis is an arterial clot and not related to the venous clots that form and lead to pulmonary embolism. I am sure that is confusing to you, but they have completely different causes and treatments. The blood clots that lead to pulmonary embolism usually arise in the veins of the legs, dislodge and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs leading to a pulmonary embolism. Risk factors for these clots include immobility, recent surgery, recent trauma, cancer, hypercoagable states (e.g. Protein C deficiency, Antiphopholipid antibody syndrome, etc.), estrogen use, pregnancy, smoking, and obesity. Cholesterol is not known to contribute to lower extremity clots or pulmonary embolism. Good luck.

  • Natalie

    Cholesterol can build up causing plaque to form in the blood vessels. When excess plaque is built up, some can burst or rupture, releasing cholesterol and fat into the bloodstream. The release of these substances can cause blood to clot creating a pulmonary emboli( plural embolus). This clot can block blood flow and result in a heart attack or angina.


    That could be one of the main reasons, High blood pressure, smoking and stress are other major reasons. Healthy eating habits and exercise are probably the best preventitive remedies.

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