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Lesser-known cholesterol may be behind heart attacks

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Researchers from Denmark announced that they have found strong evidence that an often overlooked form of cholesterol can cause heart attacks. The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While the dangers of high LDL cholesterol are well known and groups like the American Heart Association recommend regular LDL cholesterol testing, there are other forms of cholesterol in the blood.

The Danish researchers studied a lesser-known cholesterol called lipoprotein (a), which can vary up to a thousandfold from one person to another. What they found was that people with high levels of lipoprotein (a) were at two to three times higher risk of heart attack than those with lower levels.

More concerning, statins, the leading treatment for high cholesterol, do not affect lipoprotein (a) levels.

"This study may explain why statins don't work for some people," said study leader Borge Nordestgaard of Copenhagen University Hospital to Reuters.

Levels of lipoprotein (a) are controlled mostly by genetics, and are not greatly influenced by diet and exercise levels.

There are currently no drugs targeting this form of cholesterol, although it is known that both niacin and aspirin can lower it somewhat. An accompanying editorial says that the clinical implications of the research remain limited.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19215572-ADNFCR

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