Lipoprotein Particle Numbers Tell the Story
Did you know that up to 50% of those who have suffered heart attacks had normal cholesterol numbers as reported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute? How can the large discrepancy between accurate diagnosis and standard cholesterol testing be prevented?
One way to understand the issue is by investigating the science of Lipoprotein Particles.
Cholesterol testing has historically been used as the standard indicator for cardiovascular disease classified as HDL (good) or LDL (bad). However, it is actually the lipoprotein particles, little balls of protein, that carry cholesterol throughout the body, not necessarily the cholesterol within them, that are responsible for key steps in plaque production and the resulting development of cardiovascular disease.
It’s the size of the little ball of protein that determines how easily the cholesterol is penetrated inside the arterial lining to cause trouble and increase risk. Not only that, but the idea of good and bad’ cholesterol is misleading as well. We can now determine the best of the Bad (LDL) and the best of the Good (HDL) to minimize your risk.
Measuring the lipoprotein subgroups is the only way to evaluate new risk factors, which is crucial for an accurate assessment of cardiovascular risk – according to the National Cholesterol Education Program.
NCEP new Risk Factors:
1. Small, Dense LDL: these atherogenic (plaque forming) particles are easily oxidized and penetrate to form plaque.
2. Lp (A): this small dense LDL is involved in thrombosis (coagulation of the blood). Lp(A) is widely believed to be the genetic marker for heart disease.
3. RLP (Remnant Lipoprotein): is very atherogenic, and may be the building block of plaque.
4. HDL2b: The best of the HDL, it positively correlates with heart health because it is an indicator of how well excess lipids are being swept away.
Why is all this important?
Simply knowing your cholesterol number is no longer enough. Size matters – in heart disease. The smaller your particle profile, the higher the risk of lipid penetration and plaque formation.
Some of the cause for particle size is genetic and some is lifestyle. Testing is now available to simply determine the size of your little balls of protein. Once you know, treatment guidelines are available to correct and limit risk. Statin therapy is not effective on all particle sizes, and other alternatives are available.
How can you test and find out your risk?
Dr. Baughman currently uses the SpectraCell Laboratories LPP Plus risk analysis. This method not only gives you the cholesterol information that you are used to, but takes the next, critical step to report the various sizes of your personal lipid profile.
This technology has been available since the mid-90s and was developed at Texas A&M University. In addition to reporting particle size, the LPP Plus reports the number of particles in each size. High numbers of small, dense LDL particles could ultimately cause cardiovascular disease.
Find out today: test, don’t guess!
The guidelines provided on this website are for general information only. Baughman Age Management Medicine strongly recommends that you consult your physician before pursuing any regimen listed in this website.