Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taking off Fat Best Way to Avoid Heart Disease

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taking off Fat Best Way to Avoid Heart Disease

Article excerpt

People hold the power in their own hands to reduce the risks of coronary heart disease.

If ordinary folks, whether assembly line workers, corporate executives, or common laborers, seize the opportunities thrown open by medical science, the economic gains alone could be almost incomprehensible. Fewer hospitalizations, fewer days lost from productivity, and fewer deaths add up to mega-savings.

In discussing the widely-heralded Helsinki Heart Study with Dr. Reagan Bradford, whose work at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has contributed in no small measure to the understanding of the role of cholesterol in heart disease, the impact of what has lately been achieved comes into clearer focus.

It isn't just cholesterol. Researchers now distinguish between "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol. Without going into a chemical analysis of the differences, it's enough to say here that good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and more of it lowers the risk of heart disease.

Conversely, reducing the levels of bad cholesterol - identified as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - also can help. But probably not as much.

The evidence comes from the Helsinki study, a five-year, double-blind randomized trial involving more than 4,000 men.

The most startling news: a 34 percent reduction in the incidence of coronary heart disease among men treated with a drug called gemfibrozil.

For every one percent increase in HDL, there was a 3 percent reduction in risk.

"It's reassuring that nature has another kind of cholesterol," observes Dr. Bradford.

While the medical world views the Helsinki findings with "excitement and interest," he believes more research experience is needed to properly interpret them. Among the encouraging leads:

"Each type of lipid disorder got a significance reduction of risk."

Dr. Bradford underscores three safety measures that individuals can take without necessarily resorting to drugs - more exercise, ridding themselves of excess pounds, and stopping smoking. …

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