‘Ugly cholesterol’ spurs high risk of heart disease

Copenhagen, Jan 22: The risk of ischaemic heart disease affecting millions worldwide is three times higher in people with high levels of the so-called ‘ugly’ cholesterol, according to a finding.

“By examining 73,000 people, we found that an increase in the ugly cholesterol triples the risk of ischaemic heart disease, which is caused by lack of oxygen to the heart muscle due to narrowing or blocking of the coronary arteries,” said Borge Nordestgaard, chief physician at Herlev Hospital, who led the study.

“LDL cholesterol or ‘the bad’ cholesterol’ is of course bad, but the new study reveals that the ugly cholesterol is the direct cause of arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries) resulting in ischaemic heart disease and early death,” said Nordestgaard, also clinical professor of health sciences at the University of Copenhagen, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports.

High cholesterol is life-threatening. But very few know which type of cholesterol is the most frequent killer.

Cholesterol is divided into ‘the good’ HDL cholesterol, ‘the bad’ LDL cholesterol and ‘the ugly’ cholesterol, according to a Copenhagen statement.

If the levels of normal fat, triglyceride, in the blood are high, then the levels of ugly cholesterol are also high. This can be determined by a blood sample.

You can lower your blood cholesterol level by eating a low-fat diet and avoiding overweight. Should this not lower the cholesterol level sufficiently, it may be lowered with drugs.

According to World Health Organization estimates, 17 million people fall victim to cardiovascular disease – the most frequent cause of death in the world.

Anette Varbo, physician and doctoral student at Herlev Hospital, part of the research team, says that the findings shed light on a long-standing debate among researchers on the so-called triglyceride, arteriosclerosis and cholesterol.

IANS