Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Bad' Cholesterol Linked to Early Heart Disease

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Bad' Cholesterol Linked to Early Heart Disease

Article excerpt

A little-known form of "bad" cholesterol that doctors cannot yet measure reliably may cause early heart disease just as often as its better-known cousins, a study suggests.

The lesser-known culprit, called lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a), may lurk in dangerously high levels in the blood of people whose other cholesterol levels appear normal, researchers say. The lipoprotein is made of particles of protein and fat in the blood.

Excess levels of lipoprotein(a) accounted for 10 percent of all cases of premature heart disease (those occurring before age 55) among the 2,191 men studied, said Dr. Andrew G. Bostom, a researcher at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The findings were published in today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study included women, but too few cases of premature heart disease developed to calculate their risk from the lipoprotein(a), presumably because estrogen protects premenopausal women from heart disease, Bostom said. …

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