Friday, February 12, 2016

Benefit of lowering cholesterol early in life

Research shows that reduced cholesterol protects from heart disease later in life. Elevated levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol are a known risk factor for heart disease. A new report from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, which has been looking at heart disease risk factors for many years, looks at the benefits of lifelong low LDL levels.

A group within the study participants with variants in a newly discovered gene called PCSK9 was identified. These people had lower than average LDL cholesterol thanks to these mutations. They were tracked for about 15 years and proved to have a lower than expected risk of heart disease. If their LDL cholesterol was 40 mg/dl less than normal their heart disease risk went down eight times; if it was 20 mg/dl less than normal, then they had a twofold reduction in risk. The findings show the benefits of maintaining a low level of LDL cholesterol throughout life. For those not born with mutations in PCSK9, then a healthy lifestyle, maybe supplemented by cholesterol-lowering drugs, can acheive this end.

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