LDL Cholesterol: A broken Yardstick to measure cardiac risk

Almost 75 percent patients hospitalized for cardiac arrest showed normal cholesterol levels, far away from the risk of cardiovascular trouble, a nationwide study reported.

The finding indicate towards the need to change the current threshold value of the cholesterol level, said study author Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow

“The LDL cholesterol level at which people have heart attacks shouldn’t be considered as normal,” Fonarow said. Yardstick

LDL cholesterol, in other words “bad” cholesterol, accumulates to form plaques that ultimately block arteries. Values evaluated by U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute are 130 milligrams per deciliter for healthy people and 70 milligram per deciliter for those who have high risk factors such as obesity, smoking and hypertension and diabetes.

But the collected data of 137,000 cardiac arrest patients, from 2000 to 2006, showed that, about three-quarter had bad cholesterol level below 130 at the time of hospitalization, while 17.6 percent had LDL levels below 70.

“With LDL levels from 100 to 130, people may feel risk free,” Fonarow said. “In this study, there was nothing normal about having an LDL reading of 100.”

Cholesterol is only one aspect in heart attack, Fonarow said. Risk increase with age, especially for males and who have had a family history.

“The positive thing is that, 80 percent of the risk factors are controllable,” Fonarow said. “We can’t change our family history, age or sex, but what we can do is to keep our blood pressure low, exercise and change our lifestyle in that way which has minimum risks.”

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